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rainbow ruler   :  Archive   :  2008   :  US Schools Dec 2008


School CP -- December 2008

Corpun file 20796

The Benton County Daily Record, Bentonville, Arkansas, 1 December 2008

Whatever happened to paddling in schools

'Board of Education' pretty much retired

By Tracy M. Neal
Staff Writer

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Years ago, the thought of Lucille caused the hearts of many seventh-graders to beat a little faster. An appointment with her created an overwhelming since [sic]of dread.

Lucille was about 3 feet long and more than an inch thick and had several eyes. The eyes were actually holes that had been drilled through Lucille.

The coach introduced his sidekick -- Lucille -- to students at the beginning of each year. An appointment with her could be easily arranged for any misbehavior. She was the mediator when it came to disputes or fighting and even talking and being tardy to class.

Other teachers also had names for their instruments of punishments. Some, ironically, referred to their paddles as the "Board of Education."

Teacher and principals also had different delivery methods. Some teachers' swings were like rapid automatic-weapons fire and were over in seconds, while others acted like single shooters to give their arms time to reload before delivering the next blow.

Many schools districts now have taken the "Lucilles"and "Board of Educations"out of the schools and classrooms.

Today, 22 states allow a form of corporal punishment, while 28 states have banned the punishment. Arkansas is one state that still allows corporal punishment to be used in schools.

However, the Bentonville School District does not allow its schools to use corporal punishment, according to Superintendent Gary Compton.

"We don't allow paddling or any form of hitting," Compton said.

Compton began teaching in 1969, and he never used corporal punishment.

"It's my opinion that if we need to teach a lesson, then there are better ways to teach it than that," Compton said.

The main punishment for unruly Bentonville students comes in the form of detention, Compton said.

Keith Martin, the principal of Pea Ridge Elementary School, said the school district allows corporal punishment.

"We do it on very limited basis with parental permission," Martin said. "It's an option that we give to parents. We just don't drag kids to the office."

Parents must give written permission for corporal punishment to be used, Martin said.

"I received corporal punishment in school," Martin said. "We live in a different age now and things have to be done differently."

Corporal punishment is still an option in the Gentry School District, but parents must give written consent for their children to be subjects of the punishment.

The Siloam Springs School Board passed a policy in the summer that ended corporal punishment in the district, Superintendent Ken Ramey said Two of Chrissy Reynolds' three children attend school in the Rogers School District. Although the school district doesn't use corporal punishment, Reynolds is not opposed to using paddling as a discipline.

"As long as they did something bad enough, I wouldn't be against it," Reynolds said. "I would want to be informed first. I'll probably say yes and they will also be in trouble at home."

Judy Hall takes the opposite approach. Her three children are adults, but she vehemently opposes corporal punishment.

"Do not touch my kids," Hall said. "No one has the right. Call me and I'll take care of it, but I wouldn't hit them either. What does it accomplish anyway ? It teaches them that violence is the way to handle things."

Connie Cloe believes respect had been lost in schools and the diminishing influence of paddles like Lucille might be one of the reasons.

"They don't have respect for anybody anymore," Cloe said of some young people. "We respected authority and knew the consequences if we didn't abide by the rules."

Cloe's two children, who are now adults, attended school in Bentonville. She remembered that her son was paddled at school, but her daughter never met that fate.

Compton has his own personal experiences with paddling. As a student, he was on the receiving end of a paddle.

"I probably deserved it," Compton laughed. "I was not the best of students."

One of Compton's elementary-school principals practiced a unique deterrence style.

The principal would announce over the PA system that a student was about to be paddled. He would not say the student's name, but through the PA system other students could hear the whacks of the paddle meeting its target, Compton said.

Benton County Sheriff's Office Deputy Rich "Coach" Conner was a science teacher and coach for 20 years. When Conner began his teaching career, most teachers probably had a paddle in his or her classroom, he said.

Conner said he remembered being paddled in the eighth grade by a coach who was a Golden Gloves boxer. "He set my little butt on fire," Conner said.

Conner still believes corporal punishment should be used in schools, but only after other measures have failed.

"It's changed over the years and that's probably for the best," Conner said.

Compton questions whether corporal punishment actually deters any misbehavior.

Would paddling stop students from being tardy or talking in class, Compton asked.

"That's the interesting question," Compton said.

Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 20815


Chicago Sun-Times, 6 December 2008

2 coaches fired in paddling scandal

CPS: Marshall's Hargrays won state title in 1st season

By Maudlyne Ihejirika
Staff Reporter

Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan moved Friday to fire two high school boys basketball coaches found to have been paddling student athletes.

Six other inquiries into alleged paddling of players by high school coaches continue.

Fired is Morgan Park's Mandel Oliver, suspended without pay since the season started Nov. 10 for allegedly paddling a varsity player last school year.

Also gone is Marshall coach Courtney Hargrays, who led the powerhouse team to the Class 3A state title in his first season, then had his employment placed in limbo. Both can appeal.

Taking over at Morgan Park is new coach Nick Irvin. At Marshall, assistant coach Henry Cotton takes the reins.

"As a result of investigations, Arne Duncan is recommending termination for these two coaches who practiced corporal punishment and paddled student athletes on their respective high school basketball teams," CPS Director of Sports Administration Calvin Davis said.

"Six other cases are currently under investigation."

The probes were triggered earlier this year after paddling of team members by Simeon's volleyball coach came to light, brought by star player Bruce Zayas. Zayas, a senior, was forced to quit the team, and in an ensuing investigation, Simeon sophomore assistant coach Fred McClinton resigned. Then students at other schools came forward.

Corporal punishment has been illegal here since 1994.

"Anyplace where this is found, we're going to fire the coach," Duncan had vowed.

Officials declined to name the six other schools, where inquiries involve alleged paddling by both football and basketball coaches.

© Copyright 2008 Digital Chicago, Inc.

Marshall boys basketball coach Courtney Hargrays was fired over alleged paddling. (Tom Cruze -- Sun-Times)

blob Follow-up: 18 December 2008 -- Supporters of basketball coaches accused of paddling make plea to Chicago school board

Corpun file 20819


The Augusta Chronicle, Georgia, 10 December 2008

Schools discard policy on spanking

By Donnie Fetter
Columbia County Bureau Chief

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In its final meeting of the year, the Columbia County school board eliminated a policy allowing corporal punishment of students.

Although the policy has been on the books, school officials said that they long ago abandoned corporal punishment, such as spanking, as a disciplinary option.

Superintendent Charles Nagle said spanking should be only a parental responsibility.

"What they do at their woodshed is their business," he said.

School board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco echoed Mr. Nagle's comment.

"I've always believed that type of discipline should fall into the hands of the parents," she said.

During a recent purge of overlapping policies within the school board's code, officials came across the corporal policy and decided to delete it. Corporal punishment is administered in U.S. schools more than 1 million times each year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

There were nine instances of paddling recorded last school year in Richmond County. Randolph Clay High School, in Randolph County, Ga., produced the most paddling incidents in the 2007-08 school year with 1,258, according to state records.

The potential liabilities of spanking are too great to continue with a corporal punishment policy, even though state law allows for it, Mr. Nagle said.

"When you're paddling ... you're walking a fine line between discipline and abuse," he said.

On Tuesday, the board also approved allowing middle school pupils taking both remediation-acceleration courses and music classes to skip physical education.

Those pupils must continue to take a mandatory health class, which includes instruction on sex, drug abuse and alcohol.

The new scheduling policy will affect about 4.6 percent of the county's middle schoolers.

Corpun file 20832


The Augusta Chronicle, Georgia, 11 December 2008

Paddling reported in error

By Greg Gelpi
Staff Writer

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State records incorrectly show that Richmond County students were paddled last year, according to a school official.

Last month and again Wednesday, The Augusta Chronicle reported, based on an analysis of state discipline records, that nine students received corporal punishment.

Executive Director of High Schools Lynn Warr, however, researched each of the nine incidents. Each had been inadvertently entered into a computer system using the code for corporal punishment, which is "10." They should have been recorded as "100," for counseling.

Ms. Warr said she has worked in the Richmond County school system for 31 years and doesn't recall anyone being paddled since the 1980s.

The Georgia Department of Education requires all school systems to keep records of its discipline incidents, when and where they occur and how they are handled. School systems must report this data to the state department each year, making the data only as reliable as those who enter them.

Corpun file 20866


Chicago Tribune, 18 December 2008

Supporters of basketball coaches accused of paddling make plea to Chicago school board

2 accused of paddling shouldn't be fired, school board told

By Carlos Sadovi
Tribune Reporter

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Two Chicago Public Schools basketball coaches accused of paddling athletes should be given warnings and not lose their jobs, supporters told the school board Wednesday.

The plea came at the first board meeting since schools chief Arne Duncan was nominated by President-elect Barack Obama to be the next U.S. education secretary.

Duncan, who was greeted with a standing ovation, left before supporters spoke; this month he recommended that one coach, Mandel Oliver of Morgan Park High School, be fired and that the other, Courtney Hargrays of state champion Marshall High School, not be allowed to work in the district. Earlier this month, district officials said they were looking at six other cases of paddling, doubling the number of cases where paddling was allegedly being done by either coaches or security officials.

Earlean Green, Marshall's local school council president, said morale has sunk since Hargrays, who won a state title in his first year, was removed from his coaching duties.

"These young men are giving back to the community. . . . Everyone deserves a second chance," Green said.

But Patrick Rocks, the school board's lawyer, asked Green whether she condoned hitting students. Green said that as a parent, she has "told teachers, coaches and everybody else if they act up, hit that butt. I didn't say [to] beat them down like a dog. . . . If it takes a paddle, fine. . . . I would rather a whooping than for the police to shoot them."

Nathaniel Byrd, a lawyer for the school's alumni association, said the district is at fault because it didn't issue "specific rules or restrictions" against the practice. He called for a hearing with district officials to discuss an alternative punishment.

"CPS administrators have known about the practice for years," Byrd said.

District officials said an internal investigation found that the coaches had used paddles to either reprimand or motivate the student-athletes. They said that violates a state ban on corporal punishment that has been in place since 1993.

Rocks said the coaches still have to have hearings before the board can take action.

Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune

Corpun file 20870

The Gainesville Times, Georgia, 20 December 2008

Area schools retain policies for corporal punishment

Only Hall County still paddles, but with parents' permission

By Brandee A. Thomas

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If you think that the days of children being paddled at school disappeared with saddle shoes and poodle skirts, you may be surprised to learn that many areas school systems still have policies allowing corporal punishment, though most don't enforce the policy.

Several surrounding schools systems, including the Hall County and Jackson County systems, have policies that allow the use of corporal punishment as an acceptable form of punishment for students.

However, the form of corporal punishment that is used in at least one of those school systems doesn't fall under the traditional definition of physical punishment.

"We don't allow physical hitting of any kind in our schools, and that includes paddling," said Shannon Adams, the Jackson County School System superintendent.

Although the school system has a policy outlining the use of corporal punishment, it did not have any instances of the practice being used last school year. In July 2004, the Jackson County School System updated its policy on corporal punishment at the suggestion of its legal representation, Adams said.

"At the advice of our attorney, we left the policy in our manual and gave direction about how corporal punishment can be used," he said. "We don't allow hitting, but in our school system corporal punishment can be some type of physical punishment, like running laps around the football field."

At the end of each school year, every school system in Georgia is required to compile an annual disciplinary report and submit it to the state Department of Education. In the report, schools are required to document the number of times each type of punishment was used within the school system.

The various types of punishment include corporal punishment, in-school suspension, expulsion and assignment to an alternative school.

Of the four local systems that have policies allowing the use of corporal punishment -- Jackson County, Hall County, Dawson County and White County -- Hall County was the only system to have any reported uses of the practice.

According to the state's annual disciplinary report, there were seven uses of corporal punishment in the Hall County school system last school year.

While Jackson County uses alternate forms of corporal punishment, Hall County sticks to a more traditional approach.

"The only corporal punishment we use is paddling," said Gary Stewart, Hall County school system's executive director of administrative services. "It's not a policy, but it is our policy to call parents to get permission before a child is paddled."

Although corporal punishment is allowed in school systems, all local policies state that the practice is not to be used as the first line of punishment.

"We very rarely use corporal punishment, but sometimes parents have requested that we try that method first," Stewart said.

Even though corporal punishment was used seven times last year in Hall County, other forms of punishment were used much more often. For example, in-school suspension was used more than 6,000 times during the 2007-2008 school year.

In Jackson County, where corporal punishment was not used at all last year, there were nearly 2,000 instances when in-school suspension was used. In Dawson County, in-school suspension was used 200 times, while the practice was used 19 times in the White County School System.

Although parents have the right to object to their child being paddled, students can also refuse the punishment, Stewart says.

"If a student refuses, that ends it right there," he said.

Georgia laws outline when and how corporal punishment may be used in schools.

"The corporal punishment shall not be excessive or unduly severe," reads Georgia code 20-2-731.

"Corporal punishment must be administered in the presence of a principal or assistant principal or (their designee). Corporal punishment shall never be used as a first line of punishment for misbehavior unless the pupil was informed beforehand that specific misbehavior could occasion its use."


Punishing students

At the end of each school year, each school system in Georgia is required to submit its annual disciplinary report to the state department of education. The following is a sample of how discipline was doled out in area school systems during the 2007-2008 school year, with the three methods being corporal punishment, in-school suspension (ISS) or 10 days or fewer bus suspension:

Gainesville: Corporal, 0; ISS, 2; bus suspension, 31

Hall County: Corporal, 7; ISS, 6,565; bus suspension, 679

Jefferson: Corporal, 0; ISS, 619; bus suspension, 43

Jackson County: Corporal, 0; ISS, 1,987; bus suspension, 422

Dawson County: Corporal, 0; ISS, 201; bus suspension, 48

White County: Corporal, 0; ISS, 19; bus suspension, 0

Lumpkin County: Corporal, 0; ISS, 2,254; bus suspension, 111

Banks County: Corporal, 0; ISS, 984; bus suspension, 68

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