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School CP - August 2004

Corpun file 13809

logo, Huntsville, Alabama, 2 August 2004

Passing On Paddling

By Nick Kenney

As band camp winds down, Boaz High School students strike up talk of ruckus they sometimes cause in class.

"Just acting up, being a class clown," eight grader Zane Frank says.

"I actually went behind a teachers back and cussed about her," Sophomore Andy Ray laughs.

For his swear session, Andy Ray got a whoopin.'

"It was like actually a big wooden paddle," he explains. "It did hurt."

Although it hurt, Boaz school leaders say it pained them too.

They take no pleasure in paddling students.

"Very judiciously," Boaz school superintendent Leland Dishman says.

Corporal punishment is a last resort, employed only with parental permission and in the company of a witness.

"But you have some kids that reach the point, it's either suspend them or three licks, three swats on the seat and hope you can save them and save their opportunity to learn," Dishman explains.

The superintendent says that opportunity to learn is far more precious than the alternative punishment--suspension.

"That's one of the last things I ever want to do is put a child out of school because when we put them out on the streets the opportunity to get in trouble is so much greater," Dishman says.

So should a Boaz High student cause trouble, that Pirate will be punished.

"Yes," Ray says. "I did deserve that one."

But only if they're deserving.

All content Copyright 2000 - 2004 WorldNow and WAFF, a Raycom Media station. All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 14046

Abilene Reporter-News, Texas, 3 August 2004

Brownwood reinstates paddling

By Celinda Emison
Reporter-News Staff Writer

Brownwood school trustees Monday reinstated corporal punishment in a 6-1 vote despite the superintendent's recommendation against it.

The Brownwood Independent School District board voted to put corporal punishment back into the district's code of conduct for the 2004-2005 school year. The district has not used paddling to discipline students since 1996.

Following a brief discussion, board Vice President Michael Cloy and board members Tim Wilson, Michael Coppic, Sandra Garcia, John Nickols and Roderick Jones voted to reinstate paddling. Board president

Mark Bradshaw was the lone dissenter.

"I don't want anyone to think we are doing away with other methods of discipline and we just want to whip the tar out of the students," Wilson said. "This is just another tool."

Cloy asked that a student's emotional and physical condition be considered before corporal punishment is used.

Superintendent Dr. Sue Jones recommended that paddling not be put back into the district's code of conduct. Before the board vote, she strongly argued against paddling.

"Children learn not by what we say but by what we do," she said. "Children learn three ways - by example, by example and by example."

Jones said corporal punishment is not allowed in prisons or in the military, and is not endorsed by the American Classroom Teachers Association. She pointed to the district's goals for academic excellence and for discipline with an emphasis on character.

"We want well-behaved children, and we want what's right and for students to do well," she said. "It's really what you believe is right for your children."

Parents, teachers and administrators attended the meeting and several spoke before the vote.

In a passionate plea to the board, Amy Crist, a counselor at Northwest Elementary School, asked the board to reconsider implementing paddling.

"As a teacher, I have seen (paddling) used as a form of retribution by a teacher," she said. "This (corporal punishment) puts pressure on the schools to do the discipline that should be done in the home. How do you keep it from being used in the wrong way?"

Brownwood retiree Dr. James Gandy said he favors the practice.

"I remember the whipping I got 60 years ago and it did me good," said Gandy, a retired veterinarian and resident of Brownwood.

Eddie Gomez, a parent and substitute teacher for BISD, said his parents told him about receiving swats for speaking Spanish in class.

"Now you have to have two years of Spanish to graduate," he said. "I am not in favor of this (corporal punishment), and I want to know if there are any alternatives."

Jones warned those who voted to implement the policy and those who administer corporal punishment could be legally liable should the district face a paddling-related lawsuit in the future.

"We've just got to trust their judgment," Jones said of BISD's principals.

BISD corporal punishment guidelines

1. May only be administered by the principal or assistant principal.

2. Administered only in office of the principal or assistant principal.

3. Decision to administer paddling is made by the principal.

4. Must have parental permission. Parents must sign a permission slip that will be sent home with each student this fall if they want to allow administrators to paddle their children who get in trouble at school.

5. A witness who is a professional employee (such as a teacher or another administrator) and is of the same sex as the student must be present.

6. Must not be administered in view of other students.

7. A report must be filed with the time, date, offense and number of swats administered.

8. Must consider child's emotional and physical condition before administering punishment.

Copyright 2004, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 13806

Northwest Arkansas Times, Fayetteville, 4 August 2004

Greenland board appoints principal, examines handbook

By Trish Hollenbeck
Northwest Arkansas Times


Greenland school board members Tuesday night voted 3-1 to hire former assistant superintendent Ron Brawner as interim principal for a year at the middle school.


In other business, board members voted to approve the Greenland and Winslow student handbooks (because the two districts are consolidated) for the 2004-05 school year.

While the Winslow handbook had yet to be completed, Winslow Superintendent Roger Oge said board members could go ahead and approve it because there are few differences in it and the Greenland handbook.

One of those differences is that the Winslow district does not include corporal punishment of students, while Greenland does. "You can have different policies or different handbooks," Oge said.

Parker added that if a parent does not want corporal punishment to occur in individual cases in Greenland, it will not happen.


Corpun file 13814

Tuscaloosa News, Alabama, 7 August 2004

Anniston board reverses paddling ban in city schools

ANNISTON -- Anniston's city school board reinstated corporal punishment for the school year beginning next week after previously voting to ban the practice of paddling students.

Thursday night's agenda called for the suspension of the paddling policy, but Superintendent Sammy Lee Felton asked members to reinsert it into the code of conduct after teachers had criticized its removal. He called for a committee to investigate the issue and report to the board by October.

Felton said the reversal came after consulting with teachers, administrators and board members.

He said no parents had contacted him about the issue.

"I'm in favor of corporal punishment. I grew up that way and I maintained that policy with my children," board member Jim Klinefelter said, drawing scattered laughter from the audience.

Copyright 2002 The Tuscaloosa News

Corpun file 14673

The Monitor, McAllen, Texas, 11 August 2004

Paddling Prohibited -- McAllen schools officially outlaw penalty

By Kathryn Walson
The Monitor

McALLEN -- The McAllen school district has set itself apart from other school districts by banning paddling.

Responding to a recommendation from school district administrators, the McAllen School Board recently voted to remove the school district's corporal punishment policy from the new Student Code of Conduct. As a result, paddling is officially prohibited, although it's been years since administrators swatted students to set them straight, said Peggy Fiveash, assistant superintendent for student support services.

"We had told the principals, "This is not a good idea. Don't do this,' " she said.

Fiveash said she expects principals to continue to rely on the same non-physical discipline -- such as detentions and in-school suspensions -- that they've used for years.

"In my personal opinion, I think there are other alternatives that can accomplish what paddling is intended to do," she said.

The state lets school districts decide whether to use corporal punishment. Local school districts, including PSJA, Hidalgo, Mission, Edinburg, La Joya and Sharyland, have a paddling policy on their books. Despite the policy, La Joya does not permit paddling, a school district official said. Other local school districts let each principal decide whether to use corporal punishment on their campus. Most principals choose not to, while a few principals break out the paddle just a couple of times a year, school officials said.

"The trend is moving away from spanking," said Craig Verley, spokesman for the Mission school district.

School districts' corporal punishment policies vary, but most share the following requirements: the student has to be told why he's getting paddled; only principals, assistant principals and teachers who are the same sex as the student can paddle; the paddle has to be approved by administrators; another employee has to be present; and the paddling must take place out of view of the student's classmates.

The paddling typically consists of one to three swats with a paddle to the backside, school administrators said. The swats aren't meant to hurt, but to help students understand consequences of their actions, they said. The paddling is usually preceded with or followed by a counseling session, they said.

"You don't just want to paddle them. You want to talk to them about changing their behavior," said Irma Duran, Hidalgo school district's executive director for curriculum and instruction. She said she infrequently paddled female students at Hidalgo High School, where she worked as principal through last school year.

The school districts' policies say they will honor written requests from parents who do not want their students to be paddled. While some parents may disapprove of administrators swatting their children, others ask principals to administer corporal punishment, some administrators said.

Although La Joya school district's board policy allows for paddling, administrators know paddling is unofficially prohibited and they will be let go for using corporal punishment, said Alicia Garza, administrative assistant for student services. Administrators plan to officially ban corporal punishment in the coming months, she said.

"We're beyond that," Garza said. "I think it (paddling) is demeaning. You get more out of talking to kids and reasoning with them."

Paddling started to lose its popularity in the 1980s when the concept of discipline changed and the role of educators evolved, some administrators said.

Joe Puente, new principal at McAllen Rowe High School, said he ended paddling at Morris Middle School in the late 1980s, and he noticed that other principals stopped around the same time.

"Most administrators agreed it wasn't worth the (risk of) litigation," Puente said.

Arturo Guajardo, superintendent of PSJA school district, said he doesn't know of any PSJA administrators who use corporal punishment.

"I don't believe we have principals who want to (paddle), but they could," he said.

He said he is sorry paddling is "a thing of the past."

"When I was a principal (at Ford Elementary), I used it every day, but that was the '80s," he said. "(Paddling) was a way of disciplining children, and it worked. I wish it would come back."

Guajardo said it would take support from the community to revive corporal punishment in schools.

Edward Blaha, new principal of Hidalgo High School, said that if he uses paddling at all, it will be as "a last resort," and he may let the student decide between paddling or another punishment. Some students choose paddling because it is quicker than more time-consuming alternatives, such as in-school suspensions, Duran said.

Previously, as Diaz Junior High School principal, Blaha gave one swat apiece to between six and 10 students last year, he said. Most of the time, other approaches -- such as meetings with parents -- achieve results, he said.

"We want to make sure we can help the student with his or her behavior," Blaha said.

2004 The Monitor and Freedom Interactive Newspapers of Texas, Inc.

Corpun file 14272

Austin American-Statesman, Texas, 12 August 2004

Good old days weren't always so good, especially when you took your licks

By Camille Wheeler
American-Statesman Staff

ROUND ROCK -- Smacks. Pops. Paddlings. Swats. At my little country school in the West Texas town of Southland three-plus decades ago, we called 'em licks.

I remember my last painful trip to the principal's office. It was the last week of my freshman year of high school, and Coach Hahn was fed up with a biology class paper-wad-throwing gone wild.

My classmates and I didn't care. We were hot, restless and ready to jump through the windows into our summer freedom.

We got louder and louder, until Coach Hahn, his face red as a beet, screamed at us.


The biology lab fell dead silent, and I -- in that moment of suspended time, when we were shaking, half scared and half excited to see what would happen next -- blurted out, "Ooooohhhh, get back, Jack!!!!!"

You could've cut that silence with a big stick, or wooden board, which is exactly what happened to me.


Even the toughest boys in the class ducked their heads in fear as I made that long walk down the hallway.

Now some of you might find this story horrifying. Believe it or not, it seemed normal to me at the time. I was a teacher's kid, which often was sufficient humiliation on its own, and took great pride in swapping school whipping tales with my classmates.

With most school doors set to swing open Monday across Williamson County, I recently learned that a few school boards still allow licks . . . and that I wasn't the only Texas kid raised in the '60s and '70s (and decades before) who lived life by the board.

The bottom line, according to the Texas Education Agency, which oversees the state's public school system, is that corporal punishment is not prohibited, and school districts may set their own paddling policies.

All in all, though, what we're seeing now represents a huge cultural change from decades past when parents often sided with the teachers doling out licks. The Round Rock Independent School District does not allow paddlings, said spokes- woman Cathy Brandewie, who got licks as a middle-school student in the East Texas town of Crockett. Her offense? Excessive talking during art class.

Paddlings were common when Kelly Reeves started working for the Round Rock school system 24 years ago, the 58-year-old athletic director said.

"I'm not prepared to say the days we gave licks were better, but kids overall were much more respectful of teachers," he said.

In Graham, near Wichita Falls, Reeves once got licks for wearing street shoes on a gym floor.

"You hated to get them, but you sure were proud," he said. "It was a macho deal: 'You got two; I got three.' "

The Granger school district spanks students only with parents' written permission and only through the sixth grade, Superintendent James Bartosh said.

"After that, we quit hitting them," he said. "It's hard to do that and have it mean anything."

As an elementary student at St. Mary's Catholic School in Taylor, Bartosh often was whopped on the head with a nun's three-edged ruler.

"Sit up straight!" she would yell at him. "Stop slouching!"

"You didn't have to go to the office to get licks," he said. "You got them in front of the nun and everybody."

Liberty Hill does not allow school spankings, Superintendent Dean Andrews said.

But as a high school student in Childress, in the Panhandle, he remembers paddle-wielding basketball coaches prowling the court.

"If you missed a shot, you got a swat," he said.

With parents' permission, a Jarrell student may choose licks over other forms of punishment, Superintendent Jamie Mattison said.

Certainly, school paddlings can go too far. Earlier this year in the Groveton school district, parents said their 11-year-old son was left bloodied by a severe paddling.

Such cases are why one state leader hopes to introduce a bill that would ban corporal punishment, said Rep. Alma Allen, D- Houston, who is running unopposed for the District 131 House seat in November. Yes, the 65-year-old said, she "popped" a few students during her 39-year career as a school teacher and administrator. But she wouldn't do it now.

"Corporal punishment is a way of teaching violence," said Allen, a member of the State Board of Education. "Children imitate us.

"In the 21st century, we need to be a little more astute in how we persuade children to behave in a positive manner."

Still, I had to ask Allen: Did you get licks at school?

"Of course," she said, letting herself laugh. "That's just the way it was."

Ah, the good old days. I don't know about you, but I'm glad they're just about gone.

(Copyright 2004)

Corpun file 13911

Charlotte Observer, North Carolina, 22 August 2004

We're shining light on corporal punishment

I would like to inform the parents of Union County Public School students about a newly published policy in the student code of conduct.

I was shocked to consult my children's agendas and find a corporal punishment policy as a part of the student code of conduct. I have lived here five years, and have never seen this in writing. The policy does not define corporal punishment, the method to be used, nor does it mandate parental consent prior to this being inflicted on a student.

This policy was updated in April 2004.

A concerned group of parents has requested to be placed on the school board's agenda to address this policy.

Specifically, 27 states have abolished corporal punishment in schools. More than half the students in North Carolina live in districts that have abolished this in schools.

There are active attempts on a state level to get rid of this in our schools. I would like to see the fastest-growing county in North Carolina get informed about this.

Over 40 major national organizations including the American Medical Association, National Association of State School Boards, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals have taken the stance in favor of abolishing corporal punishment.

I just thought that the parents in this school system should be aware of this policy, and the attempts that are being made to abolish it.

Peggy Dean

2004 Charlotte Observer and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

blob Follow-up: 15 November 2004 - School Districts That Allow Or Don't Allow Corporal Punishment

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