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ruler   :  Archive   :  2004   :  US Schools Sep 2004



School CP - September 2004

Corpun file 13999

Times Record News, Wichita Falls, Texas, 5 September 2004

Parent says coach paddled, injured son

By Brent D. Wistrom
Times Record News

An angry father said some City View ninth grade football players were paddled by coaches after a Friday afternoon practice.

The brother of another player had similar accounts late Friday of the students being beaten on the backs and buttocks with a 4-inch-wide wooden paddle.

Both characterized the wounds as severe and said they wanted to press charges against the coaches involved.

The Times Record News is withholding the names of the coaches who allegedly beat the boys pending official charges. The boys' names are being withheld because of their ages.

William E. Barton, the father of one football player, said other parents were upset about the incident. He said one of the boys was teasing another boy in the locker room at about 2:30 p.m., following practice. He said one boy went to the coach to complain about the teasing.

The coach, the son told his father, came out of his office and paddled three football players, leaving welts and lacerations on their backsides.

"He got the licks at 2:30, and we could still see them at 10 that night," Barton said.

Barton said he gave reports to Wichita Falls police officers Friday afternoon and that pictures were taken of the wounds. Officer Sandy Lamb confirmed the paddling took place, but said it was being recorded as an "incident" and not a "criminal investigation." She said the injuries were consistent with disciplinary action at City View and are normal at the school.

City View High School Principal Steve Harris said Saturday he hadn't heard about the incident and didn't want to comment on it.

Barton's son said one of the coaches yelled at the boys saying, "I'm going to run your (expletive deleted) until you puke Tuesday."

"I think the cussing at the boys is a little too much when they're also cussing," Barton said.

The brother of another player gave a similar account to the Times Record News late Friday.

Barton said he had not signed any waivers giving his approval for City View school officials to paddle his son. "I've always told them if my kid breaks a rule and needs to be paddled, my wife or I need to be called," Barton said. He planned to contact an attorney this weekend.

"How come these guys can do it, and on a regular basis, and get away with it?" he said. "I'm not even going to let him play ball again."

Copyright 2004, Times Record News. All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 14007

logo, Texoma/Wichita Falls, Texas, 7 September 2004

Parents fuming over City View paddling

Some parents in City View say the high school coaching staff was out of line when they paddled four freshman on Friday. Three parents of 9th grade City View High School football players showed up before the start of school today, hoping to meet with the school's principal about a coach's punishment of their sons. The parents say their sons were paddled Friday by an one of the junior varsity coaches with so much force, it left marks and bruises on the boys.

This afternoon, two of the boys' parents met with the principal to get some answers. William Barton, a City View parent says, "We're wondering why they're using a 3 inch board that isn't even a paddle which leaves marks on these kids to begin with. Why are coaches are being allowed to paddle the kids, especially right before a game when they're all hyped up."

City View's principal, Steve Harris, met with two of the parents about Friday's incident this afternoon. We spoke with those parents at the high school today and these parents actually support corporal punishment.

The parents we spoke with say they signed off on City View High School's code of conduct at the start of the year, knowing full well teachers can paddle students at their discretion. But they say what happened on Friday after their son's practice, crossed the line between punishment and abuse.

Just after sunrise, three fathers showed up at City View high school for a one on one with the school's principal. They wanted to know who will answer for the marks they found on their sons when they got home from work Friday night.

"If I'd left those marks on him, I'd be in jail or he'd be in a foster home." Robert Entrekin supports corporal punishment, but he says this time, the force used on his son for what he said was horseplay among the players, went way over the line. Robert Entrekin says, "20 hours later our children still had marks on them. So yes, definitely, someone exceeded the limits of corporal punishment.

Another parent called the police when he saw the marks and bruises on his son left from the paddling. William Barton, father of City View high school Student: "When the officer took the report, I asked 'If you saw these marks on my son and someone said, I whooped my son, what would you do? She said sir, I'd have to arrest you. I said then I rest my case."

Barton and Entrekin says their sons' coaches violated a trust and from now on they want to be informed before their sons are punished. Mr Barton says, "I'd like to see these coaches never be able to teach again, never be able to lay a paddle on them again. Robert Entrekin says, "I appreciate these teachers here. I'm glad they take the time and patience to deal with these kids. But somebody didn't Friday. Somebody beat my child."

City View's principal told us he's meeting with coaches this week and if school policy was violated, disciplinary action will be taken. Wichita Falls detectives are also investigating the paddlings. They will turn their findings over to the D.A.'s office.

Corpun file 14097

The Tribune Record, La Junta, Colorado, 8 September 2004

State law protects teachers

State Senator Mark HillmanBy State Senator Mark Hillman

Not that long ago, parents and students understood that the teacher was "The Authority" in the classroom. My parents impressed upon me that I shouldn't bother them with frivolous complaints about a teacher and that if I got into trouble at school, I would be in trouble at home, too. Today, rather than re-enforcing teachers, some parents too often turn their students' plaintive whining into an agenda item at the next school board meeting. In some extreme cases, disgruntled parents and ill-adapted students go so far as to threaten lawsuits over anything from a classroom grade to a coaching decision.

Teachers and parents should know that Colorado law provides significant protections for educators who are simply doing their job. Colorado Revised Statutes not only discourage or prohibit lawsuits but also provide for sanctions against frivolous lawsuits or malicious accusations. School districts are required to adopt a code of discipline and standards for student conduct, emphasizing that behavior which disrupts the classroom will result in disciplinary action against the troublemaking student. A school district and its employees are immune from lawsuits "for taking any action regarding the supervision, grading, suspension, expulsion or discipline" of a student who is on school property or participating in a supervised activity.

Teachers and other school employees who are acting in good faith to enforce the district's discipline code are immune from civil liability. Acting in compliance with district discipline policy also shields the teacher from child abuse or criminal charges and against disciplinary proceedings or contract non-renewal by the school district. Courts are instructed to dismiss any civil action upon finding that the school employee was acting in a manner consistent with school policy. In such cases, the plaintiff will also be required to pay the school or employee's attorney fees and court costs. The court may require the plaintiff's attorney to pay the defendant's costs, too.

When a public school employee is sued for an act or omission which occurred during the performance of the employee's duties and within the scope of his or her job, the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act requires that the school district pay the cost of defending its employee and pay any judgment or settlement against the employee. A school and its employees are also immune from legal action if they report to law enforcement, consistent with federal law, that they have reasonable grounds to suspect that a student is illegally under the influence, in possession, or involved in the solicitation or distribution of drugs or alcohol.

Malicious accusations against school employees can result in severe penalties as well. Anyone age 18 or older who intentionally makes false accusations of criminal activity against a school employee can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and fined up to $2,000. For minors age 10 and older, courts have discretion to require community service and any other appropriate sanction. In these circumstances, schools are empowered to expel or suspend the offending student. Finally and contrary to popular belief, Colorado law does not prohibit corporal punishment. Although many school districts do not authorize corporal punishment, a few districts across the state still do. Those which authorize corporal punishment often will require that parents be notified, that only an administrator may carry out such punishment, that an adult witness be present, and that corporal punishment be used only as a last resort.

I distinctly recall a couple occasions in which a "board of education" was applied to my "seat of knowledge," and it certainly altered my behavior for the better.

State Sen. Mark Hillman (R-Burlington) is the majority leader of the Colorado Senate.

Corpun file 13998

Northwest Indiana Times, Munster, 8 September 2004

Corporal punishment abandoned

By Katherine Bieker
Times Correspondent

MERRILLVILLE -- The time for corporal punishment in the Merrillville Community School Corp. has come and gone.

The Merrillville School Board on Tuesday unanimously voted to rescind its corporal punishment policy, which allowed teachers to use physical means to enforce discipline or modify student behavior.

The policy, which was last updated in July 1982, called for corporal punishment to be used only when other reasonable disciplinary alternatives failed. Teachers had to have a witness, parents had to be notified and a report was submitted to the building principal.

Merrillville Superintendent Tony Lux said the corporal punishment policy conflicted with efforts by the board to create a kinder, gentler school zone. Last month, the board unanimously adopted a civility policy aimed at curbing profanity, bullying and harassment on school property.

The civility policy states the school corporation won't tolerate hostile actions, abusive language, obscenities, verbal harassment or bullying from children or adults.

Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken for student violations, according to the school handbook. Adult violators can be restricted from school property for a specific period of time.

"Corporal punishment has seen its time. I don't think schools are using it much - I know we haven't used corporal punishment for several years now. This administration feels there are other forms of behavior modification that are more effective than corporal punishment," Lux said.

Corpun file 14001

logo, Texoma/Wichita Falls, Texas, 14 September 2004

City View principal makes changes following paddling incident

A week after 3 City View parents met with the high school principal over a paddling that left marks on their sons, the principal says some changes are being made. According to two of the students' parents, four City View football players were paddled by two coaches on September 3rd at the school's field house. The parents say the paddling left visible marks on the boys for several hours after the paddling. On one of the boys, the parents say you could still see the marks 20 hours after the paddling.

The parents who met with Principal Steve Harris about the incident say they support corporal punishment, but they did not agree with the way it was administered. One father says the coaches who spanked his son meant to leave the marks.

Principal Harris says he has replaced the paddle used in the incident with what he calls a regulation paddle. He says he's asked that all future discipline matters be referred to himself or to head coach Steve Hicks. However, he will not honor the parents' request to be notified and present before corporal punishment is administered. He says that does not follow district policy. Wichita Falls detectives are also investigating the paddlings. They will turn their findings over to the D.A.'s office.

Corpun file 14037

San Antonio Express-News, Texas, 19 September 2004

'Old school' ideas are new again here

By Jeanne Russell
San Antonio Express-News


The strict School of Excellence in Education rules are not posted in classrooms, but rather witnessed in subtle gestures, such as a high school student's quick, covert tucking in of his shirttail before he meets Superintendent Ricky Hooker's eye.

Hooker's Southern upbringing, his background as an Army officer, coach, teacher and school principal, his work as a minister, all infuse a Christian-influenced educational philosophy that begins and ends with discipline.

And if you measure success by size, Hooker is succeeding.

The School of Excellence, San Antonio's largest charter school, grew this year from 1,043 to 1,520 students, added a new campus and more than doubled its staff.

Students wear uniforms. Kissing is forbidden. Girls can wear only one pair of earrings. Boys are expected to open doors and pull out chairs for girls. Students who disobey get paddled.

"There was no 'time out' when I was growing up. My mother said 'move,' she meant 'now,'" said Hooker, 47, who argues that it's better to swat a kid and send him back to class five minutes later than have him spend a semester in "in-school suspension" and fall behind in reading.

Hooker markets his charter school as a "private school education at a public school price." He says he asked two questions before taking the job: Could he fire teachers? Could he use corporal punishment?

Paddling is a bit of a throwback, the most controversial practice of a self-professed "old-school" educator. New Jersey was the first state to ban corporal punishment in 1967, and its use has fallen steadily in the three decades since then, although 23 states, including Texas, still allow it.

Charter schools are public schools that were authorized by the Texas Legislature to foster innovation and offer options to parents not served by traditional public schools.


Teacher Nicole Savadin taught in the Bexar County Detention Center last year and visited public and private schools before signing up to teach speech here.

"It's kind of a nice mix of private and public school. The paddling — I love that," she said.

Despite the lingering threat of "Ole Thunder," the theatrical superintendent is clearly adored as much as his paddle is feared, and students flock around him for hugs between classes.

Ninth-grader Josh Talley came to the school in seventh grade, in part because his family attends the Family Praise Center, which founded the school.

Under Hooker, Talley said, "it got stricter. That's a good thing, considering I don't get disciplined on a regular basis."

Corpun file 14049

Herald & News, Klamath Falls, Oregon, 20 September 2004

Happy anniversary at Roosevelt

School celebrates 75 years

By Holly Stork


Don Phelps, who was among those attending Roosevelt Elementary School's 75th anniversary celebration Saturday, shows off an award he received while attending the school in the 1930s. He was honored for holding the all-time record of the most spankings in one year -- 14 of them.

Music and laughter, stories and students filled Roosevelt Elementary School Saturday night as alumni, family and friends celebrated the school's 75th anniversary.

The gala, which drew a crowd of more than 350 people showcased bands from every decade the school's been in session and included a barbecue supper. Hallways were lined with friends sharing handshakes and hugs amidst reviews of scrapbooks and yearbooks that filled rows of tables.

Alumni told of the pranks that compose Roosevelt lore.

Don Phelps of the Roosevelt class of 1939 presented the school with a special paddle commemorating one of his more vivid memories of his days at Roosevelt and Principal Carl W. Muender.

"I held the record for the most lickins' in one year ..." Phelps said. "I received this paddle with a plaque on it showing I received 14 swats in one school year - I actually think it was 16, but who's counting at that point?"

The paddle will go into the trophy case at Roosevelt's front entry - corporal punishment is a thing of the past.

Phelps is the brother of a past Roosevelt principal, Merland Phelps, who, to this day, still runs a safe neighborhoods program for the Roosevelt district and volunteers as a friendly face in the school's cafeteria.


Copyright 2004 Herald and News. All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 14047

Daily American Republic, Poplar Bluff, Missouri, 22 September 2004

Twin Rivers board told school off to good start

By David Silverberg
Staff Writer


BROSELEY -- New superintendent Andy Arbeitman and the Twin Rivers School District Board of Education are pleased with the smooth start to the new school year while they have been busy dealing with building projects, updated policies and new personnel.

For one hour prior to Tuesday night's meeting, the board traveled to Fisk and Qulin to see building improvements.


Board members approved the updated employee faculty/staff handbook for the 2004-2005 school year, including a change on the corporal punishment policy.

Arbeitman's recommendation to allow only building principals to utilize corporal punishment was accepted. Previously teachers also could paddle students.

"I recommend principals only for consistency," Arbeitman said. He noted parents can put their children on a no paddle list.


Corpun file 14091

logo, Huntsville, Alabama, 29 September 2004

Teacher Asked to Resign for Paddling Student

NewsChannel 19's Lisa Washington reports

The sun shone brightly Wednesday afternoon, just as it did four weeks ago at West Morgan High School. On September first, the temperature was in the mid-to-upper 80's. When a group of sixth graders were misbehaving, their three teachers took the students to the stadium to reprimand them.

"Our teachers wanted to talk to some students about some talking and some things," says principal Bruce Kimbrell.

When the sixth graders were brought to the stadium, they were told to have a seat an arm's length apart from other students, with their feet flat, hands in their laps, while their teachers lectured them about their behavior.

"One of them received a paddling, and that's what got them in trouble," says Kimbrell.

Because he paddled a student in front of his classmates, teacher Dustin Balch was asked to resign.   

"You can't paddle a student with the entire class watching--even though they had their backs turned, that wasn't proper," adds Kimbrell.

Kimbrell says he talked to the two other West Morgan teachers about what happened.   

"I just told 'em we couldn't do this anymore," he says.

Kimbrell says he regrets the incident, but says it wasn't cruel punishment for the kids to sit outside in the sun.

We understand they were outside between 25 and 45 minutes.

"I don't think being in the heat is going to hurt a child.  If it did, they wouldn't have had them out there," says Kimbrell. 

He believes what happened to Dustin Balch is unfortunate.

"I like Mr. Balch," says Kimbrell, "I just hate it happened to him, and I hate it happened to West Morgan."

Balch's resignation is effective January of 2005, but he will not return to the classroom. He has a medical excuse that will keep him out of school. In the meantime, a certified teacher from another system will teach Balch's students.

All content Copyright 2001 - 2004 WorldNow and WHNT. All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 14086


Charlotte Observer, North Carolina, 30 September 2004

Panel reviews use of paddling

Some parents upset about schools' policy on corporal punishment

By Emily S. Achenbaum
Staff Writer

Parents' complaints have prompted the school board's policy committee to re-examine the district's corporal punishment rules, though not initially in the light the parents may have hoped.

Schools' assistant superintendent Ed Davis said the policy committee recently asked him to research corporal punishment policies at other districts.

Davis said he'll be looking to see how those districts define corporal punishment, and what procedures they have in place. Davis said the request came after a Sept. 7 board meeting, when two parents spoke out against the district's policy.

The schools' policy states corporal punishment should be the last option for discipline. It says parents should be notified -- although notification is not required -- and that their consent will be highly recommended.

The punishment is almost always a few swipes with a paddle, Davis said. In 2002-03, corporal punishment was used 463 times in county schools, frequently at parents' request, school officials said. School staff who administer corporal punishment must write a statement justifying it.

One parent who spoke against the policy at the board meeting said she had no idea corporal punishment was still practiced in the schools until she read her children's school handbooks in August. Peggy Dean, a Weddington mother of three high-schoolers and one elementary student, is spearheading the local effort to abolish the policy.

"I was floored. I wouldn't have thought that (corporal punishment) goes on in this day and age," Dean said. "Using corporal punishment for `disrespect'? Is that a last resort? That's scary."

Dean said she hasn't found any data supporting corporal punishment as an effective discipline, but has found plenty stating it's harmful.

She is pleased her activism led the schools to re-examine the policy, but is concerned they're not looking into getting rid of it.

Davis said he's only researching other districts with corporal punishment, including Gaston County schools and Iredell-Statesville schools, with the goal of finding out how they apply it. He won't be looking at districts that have banned corporal punishment, as Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools did a decade ago, he said. Davis said he may look into why other schools banned corporal punishment, depending on the policy committee's requests.

The policy committee will then discuss Davis' findings, and bring them to the school board. Davis said he isn't sure how long the whole process will take.

Corpun file 14088

logo (Channel 9 TV), Lufkin, Texas, 30 September 2004

Mother Concerned About Son's Paddling Punishment

While little Chris plays with his family, you would never guess this 4th grader might be in pain.

Chris' mother, Shelley Hall, said, "he started complaining that his butt still hurt. A little bit later he complained some more it was still hurting so about 5:15 PM I told my husband you ought to take a look, and when he looked we found the whelps on his butt."

Shelley says red marks were left behind after her son got a paddling at school. She was told Chris had an ongoing problem of not turning in his homework. That's why the high school principal dished out his punishment: two swats.

"I'm not saying he's perfect, I'm not saying he doesn't deserve a pop now and then. I'm saying that the school has no right to blister my son's butt," said Shelley.

Chris' mom doesn't want this punishment to happen again. But when she went to the elementary school to make that request, she got a surprising response from the Groveton superintendent. He told her they can spank students if they want to.

Shelley said, "come to find out that's lawful."

Groveton Superintendent Joe Driskell wouldn't talk to us on camera, but says all steps were followed in giving out the spanking. Driskell says the principal was just following corporal punishment regulations approved by the school board.

"I asked him point blank: 'is it acceptable to leave this kind of bruising on a child?' he said yes," said Shelley.

Shelley kept her kids home from school Thursday. She isn't sure if she'll let them go back.

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