corpunWorld Corporal Punishment Research

ruler   :  Archive   :  2005   :  US Schools Jun 2005



School CP - June 2005

Corpun file 15988

The Sun-Times, Heber Springs, Arkansas, 1 June 2005

Nepotism, personnel issues come up at Quitman meeting

By Jim Brown
Sun-Times Contributing Writer


QUITMAN - Personnel policy issues dominated a long school board meeting on Monday night of this week. While most of the issues had been settled before the meeting, there were some rather heated exchanges and disagreements.

Superintendent Robert Stewart related information he had received from the school board lawyer on needed changes to the policy handbook for Quitman, and was met with some disbelief by the large number of teachers present. At issue were some items the lawyer says should not be included in the handbook but should be included in a completely separate book of policy for the district. Teachers want all the policy to be contained in one book.

Both the teachers' version of the school policy handbook and the school board version, as advised by the school board lawyer, were presented and will be worked on in committee in the next few weeks. A final decision will be made at the June school board meeting.


In further business before the board First Team Bank was designated as the primary bank for Quitman school financial business, and it was decided to purchase a John Deere commercial lawn tractor from Norman Implement Company in Damascus. Corporal punishment was discussed and Quitman schools adopted the State School Board Association policy.


Corpun file 16709

Florida Times Union, Jacksonville, Florida, 7 June 2005

Paddling students in Duval: Good discipline or a relic?

'Swats' have long been used here, but tonight's vote could end that

By Beth Kormanik and Tia Mitchell

Assistant principals at Eugene Butler Middle School do not spare the rod.

Nearly half of the 529 students at the school were paddled last year, more than any other Duval County public school. There were, on average, about four paddlings a day at Butler. No other school averaged more than one paddling a day, according to the school system's statistics.

Administrators at Butler, which has struggled with both academics and student violence in recent years, said corporal punishment teaches students how to behave.

"We're not giving swats to hurt them," said Oscar Harris, an assistant principal at the school. "We're giving swats so they follow the rules here at Eugene Butler."

But Duval public schools that swat, spank and paddle would have to find other ways to discipline students if the School Board formally abolishes corporal punishment tonight. The vote will follow a public hearing on the issue.

In a county that has used the form of discipline for as long as administrators can remember, the ban would mark a cultural shift -- and provide challenges for school administrators like those at Eugene Butler that rely on "swats" to teach students how to behave.

School districts across Florida have turned away from paddling. Most of the state's largest school districts, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Orange counties, no longer use corporal punishment. But the practice is still on the books in all Northeast Florida counties.

Duval County paddled 1,026 students in 2003-04, the last year for which statewide figures are available. No other Florida county paddled more students. Jackson County in the Panhandle was next highest with 716 students.

School Board member Martha Barrett said she believes people no longer want corporal punishment in schools.

"I think that it's the trend in the country, absolutely for public schools," she said.

Nadine Block, executive director of the Center for Effective Discipline in Columbus, Ohio, said banning corporal punishment makes sense for practical reasons, such as preventing lawsuits filed when parents find bruises from paddling, and emotional reasons such as removing the fear of physical harm from teachers.

"It makes the teachers and administrators look like child abusers in the media when bruises are found on children," she said. "If I send my child to school with bruises, child protective services will be at my door. Well, why can a school do it?"


Many parents over the years have asked Principal Marilyn Myrick to spank their child. Myrick used corporal punishment to discipline students during her 20 years as an elementary school principal in three Duval County schools, but she stopped the practice when she moved to James Weldon Johnson Middle School two years ago. She didn't want to use spanking with older children.

Myrick made the transition from spanking by involving counselors and parents when finding ways to discipline children.

"Bottom line, when a student has acted inappropriately we have to get their attention, let the student know how the behavior is wrong, do something that will hopefully change their behavior and, when appropriate, provide consequences," she said.

But the tough question for principals is figuring out exactly what will change the student's behavior and what are appropriate consequences, Myrick said. The toughest cases involve students who continue with inappropriate behavior despite punishment.

Paddling at Northwestern Middle School has decreased since Principal Saryn Hatcher took over two years ago. But it still had the third highest total of students paddled last year in Duval County.

Paddling is used because it's a quick punishment, Hatcher said. And often, parents are the ones requesting it.

"We have some parents who honestly believe that's the only way to discipline children," he said.

Hatcher plans to use counselors trained to identify the root causes of misbehavior. He said one counselor has already started helping school administrators understand why certain students get in trouble and matching them with services to improve behavior.

Most Duval County principals favor the ban on corporal punishment. A survey of school principals last month showed that 68 wanted to end corporal punishment in schools and 59 did not.

In middle schools, where most paddlings take place, principals favored keeping corporal punishment as a means of disciplining students.

Use of "swats," as they're called at Butler Middle, skyrocketed after Nongongoma Majova-Seane took over as principal midway through the 2002-03 school year. That year the school reported two paddlings. The following year, there were 1,007 paddlings involving 189 students. This past school year administrators gave 651 paddlings to 251 students.


Paddling works, according to the school's three assistant principals, who administer the swats. The school's statistics show that students tend to act up in the beginning of the year. The assistant principals said students respond to the swats and by the end of the year are behaving better.

Assistant Principal Dinah Stewart said paddling a child is better than suspensions, in which students "will spend more time out of school, not getting the instruction they need."

"A lot of kids want to be at home watching TV," she said. "But I'm not going to let them do that."

Assistant Principal Carolyn Laws said they tried assigning Saturday school, but students didn't show up. She said that's because they were watching siblings on the weekends while their parents worked. Punishment for skipping Saturday school is suspension, Laws said, defeating the effort to keep students in school.

Using the paddle is just part of the culture of the neighborhood, said Harris, an assistant principal.

"Culture and custom plays a big part in the way kids are brought up, but a lot of our parents don't use time outs," Harris said.

Butler administrators follow the Duval County policy on using corporal punishment. Administrators must contact a parent or guardian before a spanking and tell students the reason for the punishment. Only a principal or a designee may use the paddle, and another adult must serve as a witness.

Parents can request that schools not paddle their children.

Andrew Jackson High Principal Jack Shanklin said he has not allowed paddling in his 17 years at the school.

"If it's a fast way to handle something, it's not being effective," he said.

Instead, the school assigns other punishments. One involves bringing in the parent to shadow the child during the school day. That's usually embarrassing enough to fix the problem, Shanklin said.


Other Northeast Florida counties said they have no plans to end corporal punishment.

Nassau County School Superintendent John Ruis said school leaders need as many options as they can get to discipline students. He experienced corporal punishment as a student in Baldwin, allowed his three children to be paddled in school and used it himself as a principal.

"I swung the board pretty regularly," Ruis said.

Baker County Associate Superintendent Glenn McKendree said corporal punishment reflects the norms and values of his community. But it's not the only punishment schools use.

Clay and Putnam also said they plan to keep corporal punishment.

St. Johns County schools have taken a different approach. The district has kept its corporal punishment policy on the books but has stopped using it, said Steve Moranda, director of school operations.

No children were paddled last year. One parent requested that an elementary school student be spanked, but school officials declined.

"Everyone has decided on the wisdom of not doing it," he said.

Advocates of a Duval County ban hope it will lead state lawmakers to end corporal punishment throughout Florida.

Mary-Lynn Cullen of Advocacy Institute for Children in Sarasota has unsuccessfully lobbied the Legislature for a statewide ban on corporal punishment. Cullen hopes Duval County's decision could give new energy to the effort.

Meanwhile, Cullen said Duval schools should get ready for the change with training and patience.

In Harris' office at Butler, the debate over corporal punishment plays itself out on his walls. Behind his desk is a framed pastel print of a man hugging a child. But on another wall is a signed photo of former Cincinnati Bengal Ron Dugans, once a student of Harris'. Dugans wrote, "Thanks for teaching me discipline."

Without corporal punishment, Harris would have to find a new way to teach students the concept.

"We'll just have to get more innovative and creative about the way we do things here if they take it away," he said.


If corporal punishment is banned in Duval County, school principals will turn to other ways to discipline students. Below is a partial list of alternatives listed in the student Code of Conduct:

After School Detention: Assignment to a designated area on campus for a specific period of time at the end of the regular school day.

Behavioral Contracts: A contract between a teacher or administrator and a student and his or her parent/guardian agreeing to modify a student's behavior. The contract shall also contain consequences for breaking the agreement.

Cafeteria Suspension: Denial of the privilege of eating meals in the school cafeteria with other students and assignment to another area for a specified period of time

Class Suspension: Denial of the privilege of attending an individual class and assignment to another area in the school for the time that class meets.

Student Option for Success Program: An evening counseling program to assist middle and high school students who are experiencing disciplinary problems. Parent participation is required.

Work Assignments: Upkeep and maintenance tasks around the school.

Corpun file 16272

Starkville Daily News, Mississippi, 8 June 2005

New discipline policy adopted for city schools

By Becky Wilkes
Starkville Daily News


A new Starkville School District discipline policy was approved at the June 7 meeting of the school board.

President Bill Weeks and members Tommy Cobb, Walter Taylor, and Eddie Myles all voted in favor of the policy; board member Anne Buffington was absent from the meeting.

The policy was approved section by section, with the only dissenting vote being on the section addressing corporal punishment. Board member Tommy Cobb had earlier expressed a desire to maintain the previous policy on corporal punishment.

According to the new Student Conduct Policy, all employees will be provided with an explanation of their role in maintaining order, discipline and an appropriate educational environment. Training will be provided for them. Many of the specifics of the policy come from state law.

The policy prohibits district employees from administering corporal punishment. Corporal punishment was allowed previously only with parental permission.

There are 16 general rules of student conduct designed to promote an atmosphere conducive to learning. The rules range from which side of the hall students should walk on to sexual harassment, possession of controlled substances and weapons. Six of the rules deal with controlled substances or weapons.


Corpun file 16008

The Press-Herald, Minden, Louisiana, 14 June 2005

Board approves specifications for spanking

By Kristi Richie
Press-Herald Staff


Corporal punishment was a hot topic at Monday’s meeting of the Webster Parish School Board.

Kevin Washington, supervisor of child welfare and attendance, addressed the board concerning changes in the policy on spanking at school.

The main changes included various specifications. Before, there was no policy defining paddle dimensions or that the punishment be administered only to the buttocks.

The changes, approved unanimously by the board, state the paddle should not exceed 15 inches in length; six inches in width; and one-half inch in thickness. It also stated spanking can only be administered to the buttocks and shall not exceed five licks.

Washington also requires each principal to provide him with a list of all faculty designated to issue corporal punishment. Also, a list of all students who receive corporal punishment must be turned into Washington at the end of each school year.

District 2 member Malachi Ridgel questioned Washington concerning parents who request their children not be spanked at school.

"For those parents who do not wish corporal punishment to be administered at school, if they would send a letter in writing, it would be placed in a file," Washington said. "Each principal is asked to specify students designated not to receive corporal punishment."

Students who are not to be spanked at school are to picked up immediately by a parent as disciplinary action. Washington said parents who request such are made aware of that policy.


Corpun file 16009

L'Observateur, LaPlace, Louisiana, 14 June 2005

New Wine opens school for behavior problem kids

By Jessica Daigle
Staff Reporter

LAPLACE -- A school designed for students with behavioral problems that carries a faith and discipline-based academic message will continue for the 2005-2006 school year, after completing a pilot program.

New Wine Christian Academy will accept students who have been expelled or have dropped out of St. John Parish public schools, and will focus on character training and respect for authority.

Rev. Neil Bernard, of the New Wine Christian Fellowship, said the school is an effort to curve the drop out rate among junior and high school students in St. John. The school accepts students from grades 7th through 12th, and will begin in August.

According to the state department of education, 180 students dropped out of St. John parish schools in the 2002-2003 school year, with 138 of those students being from East St. John High alone.

Last year's pilot program for New Wine Academy had 28 students, and, according to Bernard, all except one student stayed with the program. This year, 60 students are enrolled so far, and the academy will not exceed 75 students.

"We will wait to see the need (before we grow)", Bernard said, "and we will weigh things out."

Bernard also said the academy needs to make sure they can provide the classroom space and teachers to fully accommodate the students.

The school will work without the legal restrictions of public schools, allowing prayer, diverting from the state curriculum guidelines, and enforcing corporal punishment.

Bernard said the discipline tactics would be effective in molding the students to respect and obey their teachers, which will result in a structured learning environment.

"Once they learn to follow rules and guidelines, they are able to learn," Bernard said.

At a school board meeting held May 5, Bernard proposed a collaboration between the New Wine Christian Academy and the St. John public school system, primarily for funding reasons. The two institutions have frequently worked together in the past.

Board Member Russ Wise said he is not sure when the board will vote on the proposal, and he believes Superintendent Michael Coburn is working on the details.

Wise said he takes no issues with the idea of the school, but did stress concerns of it being non-accredited.

"I'd like to see accreditation from the state," he said, "We don't want to see kids not getting credit for the classes they take."

Bernard said the academy and the school board will still have a working relationship, whether the parish funds the academy or not.

Bernard said he finds the public has been supportive, and he sees many single parents willing to spend the $180 a month tuition because they think it will be worth it.

"People in the community say it [sic] much needed," Bernard said, "and we've been having parents calling constantly."

New Wine is still accepting applications. Call (985) 653-0008 for more information.

Copyright 2005 L'Observateur.

Corpun file 16023

Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, 16 June 2005

Paddle ban cost could hit city hard

$5.6 million surprises some on school board

By Ruma Banerji Kumar

Replacing the paddle could be costly for Memphis city schools.

Two years of training, conferences and a massive expansion of the in-school suspension program could set the cash-strapped district back $5.6 million, according to information released to the Memphis school board this week.

The training is part of the Blue Ribbon Plan -- Memphis Supt. Carol Johnson's overhaul of the district's discipline programs. The plan, which advocates more personal intervention and counseling to improve behavior and make schools safer, was born just weeks after the school board voted to ban the paddle last year.

But the cost has surprised some school board members who didn't expect the total to hit seven figures.

When school board member Patrice Robinson looked over the numbers at a meeting Monday night, she said, "I had to take a deep breath."

School board president Wanda Halbert, who voted last November to keep paddling students, had more pointed criticism:

"How much money does it take to effectively, efficiently implement corporal punishment? Zero. Now I'm paying $5 million to replace it."

The board plans to discuss its concerns with the superintendent in coming weeks.

A big chunk of the $5.6 million -- $4.3 million -- will be spent on salaries for 170 in-school suspension (ISS) teachers. Most schools don't have ISS programs, and those that do often treat them like babysitting programs with little accountability and little attention to helping students with chronic behavior problems. The superintendent and her staff are trying to change that.

Deputy Supt. Bernadeia Johnson said the ISS program overhaul and the behavior and classroom management training and conferences are necessary to help the district outgrow a damaging era of paddling. Board member Deni Hirsh agreed.

"The cost is small when you consider the ramifications of what corporal punishment did to students," Hirsh said, "and how positive (Blue Ribbon) can be for children who will, some maybe for the first time, get positive reinforcement."

The Blue Ribbon Plan rallies teachers and principals around a singular goal to make schools safer, Johnson says, something the school board has endorsed as one of its top priorities.

"You want to create this compelling reason for people to change," she said. "You want to create this synergy around it."

But there are parts of the plan that board members worry are too indulgent, like the amount spent on a 5-day training conference that started last week.

Stipends paid to teachers attending the conference, speaker fees and manuals added up to more than $555,000.

On top of that, $30,000 is being spent this year to market the program and another $150,000 is being spent printing a new student conduct guide that will incorporate the district's new Blue Ribbon principles.

While the cost of some of the programs ($887,578) will come from an already approved 2004-05 budget, the remaining $4.7 million will come from a 2005-06 budget that board members are struggling to get the County Commission to fully fund.

"I don't know whether we have the money in the '05-06 budget for this," said school board member Tomeka Hart. "And I need to know how this will relate back to improving student achievement."

Deputy Johnson said the district is working to garner school safety funds under the federal No Child Left Behind law and other private or nonprofit grants to cover part of the tab.

Spare the rod, spoil the budget?

Here's a breakdown of the cost over two years for Memphis Supt. Carol Johnson's Blue Ribbon initiative -- a behavior plan she has pushed since the corporal punishment ban last year.

Training manuals on classroom management (5 per school): $18,700

Behavior intervention manuals for teachers (5 per school): $50,000

Summer Blue-Ribbon conference: $555,823

Special training called "Capturing Kids Hearts" for 7 schools: $79,000

Classroom management training: $4,055

Blue Ribbon Marketing and Campaign strategy: $30,000

Printing student conduct guide and hiring a professional writer ($3,000): $150,000

Adding 170 positions to have in-school suspension (ISS) programs in all middle and high schools: $4.3 million

Training for ISS workers: $48,250

Second Annual Blue Ribbon Conference: $300,000

Two mini-conferences for school discipline teams: $50,000

Printing materials and supplies: $30,000

Consultant fees and trainers: $410,000

TOTAL: $5,645,828

Source: Deputy Superintendent's Office, Memphis city schools

Copyright 2005, - Memphis, TN. All Rights Reserved.

blob Follow-up: 14 November 2005 - Schools' discipline program posts gains

Corpun file 16058

Sequoyah County Times, Sallisaw, Oklahoma, 17 June 2005

Sallisaw School Hires Five New Teachers

By Monica Keen
Staff Writer


The Sallisaw School Board hired five new teachers, one of whom will coach girl's high school fast-pitch softball, at their regular meeting Monday night.


Other Business


The board approved the 2005-6 handbooks for Liberty, Eastside, and Tommie Spear Middle School. Wyrick said the punishment of corporal punishment was taken out of the handbooks. He said the board voted several years ago to do away with corporal punishment, but to keep the option in the handbooks as a threat.

"That threat doesn't work any more," Wyrick said.

The high school handbook will be on the agenda for approval in July. Wyrick said the start time for the high school will be 10 minutes later in order to help with lunch and breakfast periods.

Corpun file 16116

Muskogee Daily Phoenix and Times-Democrat, Oklahoma, 21 June 2005

Pairs with BEST Center renovations

New to Muskogee Public Schools? You can enroll your child at a central enrollment center in downtown Muskogee.

WHEN: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

WHERE: 208 W. Broadway, next to the Board of Education Service and Technology Center.

BRING: Original birth certificate, immunization record, proof of residence and CDIB card if applicable.

Free and reduced lunch forms will be mailed directly to your residence after July 1.

Students who were actively enrolled for the 2004-05 school year have automatically been re-enrolled in their respective schools for the coming year. It is not necessary for those parents to participate in central enrollment. Those students received their enrollment, emergency medical forms and corporal punishment forms at the end of the school year. Parents may mail the forms to the BEST Center or bring them by the central enrollment center.

Transfer requests also are available at the enrollment center.

Copyright (c) Muskogee Daily Phoenix and Times-Democrat. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 16117

Daily Town Talk, Alexandria, Louisiana, 28 June 2005

Rapides school paddling policy is streamlined

By Emily Peters


A proposed corporal punishment policy would let Rapides Parish principals paddle students in the future, but the guidelines are simplified.

The three-page policy has been slimmed down to a half-page "that's simpler and easy to enforce," said Thomas Roque, assistant superintendent for administration.

The new, shorter paddling policy cuts out specifications about how to handle parent complaints about improper paddling. The policy also eliminates rules that the student could be swatted on "the buttocks only" with consideration to the child's age, size, sex and physical condition.

The School Board is expected to approve that new policy, and others, when it meets at 5 p.m. on July 5.

A section of the policy that hasn't changed is that principals aren't required to send home a written explanation of the reasons for the punishment, but parents may request that information.

In 2003, district administrators asked the School Board to ban corporal punishment to avoid liability lawsuits, but the board refused. Two families have sued the board since 2001 over paddling, but the board won both cases.

While many principals, including Wally Fall at Scott M. Brame Middle School, choose to spare the rod, a few are still swinging the paddle as a last resort for problem students.

Principal Fred Moore said he probably swats students once or twice a month as a better alternative to suspension at Lessie Moore Elementary School, formerly called J.S. Slocum Sr. Elementary School.

State law allows corporal punishment in public schools. School systems, including Rapides Parish, typically adopt rules that the paddle can't have holes and can't be longer than 20 inches a quarter of an inch thick.

Also, students can be paddled at school even if their parents have requested an alternative method of discipline, a state appellate court has ruled.


Copyright (c) Alexandria Daily Town Talk. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 16105

Nevada County Picayune, Prescott, Arkansas, 29 June 2005

New group focuses on school district

By John Miller


A group of parents have gotten together to try and help improve Prescott’s schools.

The group Concerned About Prescott Schools (CAPS), met Tuesday, June 21, at the Prescott-Nevada County Library to discuss the results of a meeting of its handbook committee.

Eric Barbaree, chairman, said he had met with Prescott Superintendent Hyacinth Deon, telling her of the group’s plans and what the parents are concerned about.

Barbaree told the group he told her of the concern parents have about the school district and that they want to see the school improve. He also got information about parental involvement from Deon.

Penny Plunkett said overall the handbook is good, but the rules need to be enforced. "There does need to be some changes. If the handbook were enforced we would see big changes."


There was discussion about students being tardy for class. Wilson handed out information concerning discipline problems addressed this past school year. Students being tardy, he said, is the reason for most being sent to In School Suspension (ISS).

The district’s handbook committee addressed the tardy issue as well. It suggests corporal punishment or detention for the third tardy, with a letter being sent to the student’s parent/guardian explaining the next series of steps. The school’s committee proposes three days in ISS for six tardies, and Saturday schools for nine tardies.

One of the problems at PHS, he said, is how teachers define what tardy is. Some say a student is in class if they have broken the plane of the doorway as the tardy bell rings. Others consider students tardy if they aren’t in their desks when the bell rings. "We need uniformity."


Corpun file 16108

The Brunswick News, Brunswick, Georgia, 30 June 2005

Student conduct under review

'Common sense' plan for discipline needs board OK

By BJ Corbitt
The Brunswick News

Glynn County schools could soon be taking a new approach to discipline, with less emphasis on zero tolerance and more leeway for school administrators to use their judgments in doling out punishments.

Needwood Middle School Principal Ricky Rentz said the proposed changes, which would come as part of an overhaul of the system's student behavior code, are part of a common sense approach to discipline problems.

Rentz headed up a 28-person committee of teachers, administrators and parents that drafted a new student behavior code at the request of interim superintendent Delacy Sanford. The changes must still be approved by the Glynn County Board of Education, which discussed the proposal at a workshop meeting Tuesday.

Rentz said current school system policy is "cut-and-dry" regarding punishment of student offenses, even relatively minor ones.

Students who are found with cell phones or cigarette lighters at school automatically receive out-of-school suspension under current regulations, Rentz said. No consideration is given to whether the items are being used or if the student has a previous record of disciplinary infractions.

The proposed regulation change would lay out a variety of possible punishments or consequences for many violations, based on five levels of disciplinary action. School administrators like Rentz would be able to decide which response is most appropriate for each case.

"You don't have to burn them the first time, so to speak," Rentz said. "You can say, 'You messed up. There is going to be a consequence, but next time it's going to be more severe.'"

As an example, tobacco use would be an initial Level 1 or Level 2 offense for middle school and high school students. Possible punishments would include after-school detention, writing a paper on the misbehavior or having a conference with a parent, teacher and principal.

Younger students would automatically receive Level 3 or Level 4 discipline for tobacco use. Possible punishments would include exclusion from special events, suspension or expulsion.

The highest level of punishment, Level 5, would result in a student being placed in an alternative education program. It would be reserved for a very specific group of offenders: elementary school students who commit violent or illegal offenses. Older students would not be subject to Level 5 discipline.

No forms of corporal punishment are included in the proposed regulatory changes, and the school system's official policy allowing corporal punishment has been targeted for repeal at the board's July 12 meeting.

Policy committee members have agreed that any advantages offered by corporal punishment are outweighed by the potential for legal recourse its use offers. They also have said that while it is currently allowed, the practice is rarely used in local schools.

Board members have publicly supported the proposed discipline overhaul.

"I agree with (the changes)," board member Earl Perry said during a meeting of the policy committee last week. "This zero tolerance, it sounds good, but it doesn't work."

Rentz said that parents have been critical of the current behavior code regulations.

"A lot of parents felt like (it) was unfair where two people might do the same thing and one person, this might be their 10th offense and they get the same consequence that the other person will receive for their first or second offense."

blob THE ARCHIVE index  Main menu page

Copyright Colin Farrell 2005, 2006
Page updated: March 2006