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School CP - April 1988

Corpun file 07490

Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, 7 April 1988

Littleton schools make spanking ban official

cuttingLITTLETON -- Fifteen years after the last spanking of a student in a Littleton school, school board members officially have banned spanking.

Officials say they revised their policy on corporal punishment to reflect what schools are doing. The board adopted the new policy Tuesday.

"Basically, the purpose of this revision was to eliminate physical punishment and to clearly define the policy for any physical restraint of students," said district spokeswoman Lyn Chambers. "Corporal punishment had not been used in any of our schools for at least the last 15 years."

The new policy bans all physical punishments and limits the physical restraint of students to situations in which the teacher is quelling a disturbance, removing a weapon or acting in self-defense.


San Francisco Chronicle, 22 April 1988

Principals, Paddles and Power

By Steve Rubenstein

THE 8,000 MOST POWERFUL people on Earth were in San Francisco this week.

Eight thousand rulers and despots, capable of striking terror into the hearts of small, mischievous boys.

Eight thousand grammar school principals.

They filled Moscone Center for their annual convention. All that power under one roof. Amazing that the building remained in one piece.

Nothing, after all, is so powerful as a grammar school principal. He resides in a place called the Principal's Office, a chamber of horrors to be avoided at all costs. Even teachers tremble when the principal pays a surprise visit to the classroom. At such times, students aren't the only ones sitting up straighter.

In some states, a principal can give you a licking. Power doesn't get any more absolute than that.

SO WHY, with all that power, were the members of the National Association of Elementary School Principals unhappy? Why did they seek even more power?

Yes they did, for there on the convention agenda was a seminar titled "Power, Politics and the Principal: Using Power Constructively."

I infiltrated the seminar to find out. Hundreds of principals and I sat in the same room. Makes a fellow with my track record sweat, just thinking about it.

How disconcerting it all was. All the principals had left their paddles back home. They all wore those silly name tags that said they were Bob, Bill and Dorothy.

You ever meet a principal named Dorothy? No, her name is always Mrs. Troeger, as in such memorable lines as, "All right, Steve, give me the squirt gun and go down to the Principal's Office and spend the rest of the morning with Mrs. Troeger."

And here they were, with those silly-looking badges. A bunch of ordinary-looking people, of all things.

Anyway, the man in the mod shirt who was running the seminar passed out a four-page brochure, all about power.

"Power," it said. "The Potential to Influence the Behavior of Others. Sources of Power: Legitimate, Reward, Punish, Expertise, Referent, Information."

Oh brother. The source of power is not Referent, Mr. Mod Shirt. It's not Expertise or Information.

The source of the power is that wooden stick in the bottom drawer.

"Power," said Mr. Mod Shirt, warming to his topic like a paddled posterior, "depends on its acceptance by subordinates. The existence of power is an illusion. The source of power is in whether we accept the power or not.

Oh brother. Try telling the fellow with the paddle that you do not accept his power, and what do you get? An extra swat for mouthing off, that's what.

THE ASSEMBLED PRINCIPALS, a sensible if bloodthirsty lot, must have sensed it, too. A lot of them walked out of the seminar before it was over.

Corpun file 22056

Toledo Blade, Ohio, 30 April 1988

Girls want blow struck for equality

By Tahree Lane
Blade Staff Writer

Click to enlarge

Some girls at Woodward High School demand equal punishment. They want the right to be paddled instead of suspended from school.

Male students sometimes are given a choice -- one to four whacks with a paddle will eliminate the suspension and can wipe out several detention hours.

The girls' demand is a twist to the struggle for equality, especially when Ohio legislators may ban the paddling of schoolchildren.

Valerie Walker, 16, who returned yesterday from a three-day out-of-school suspension, was waiting to talk to a Woodward assistant principal. This was not her first suspension, she said, and she clearly would prefer a paddling.

She said her bid to be "paddled instead of suspended" was rejected.

Students may prefer paddling because their parents do not learn of the infraction. Parents are told the reasons for a suspension.

Click to enlarge

After an editorial in the student paper called for equal whacking rights, a girl "tested" administrators by asking for such treatment, Principal Rebecca Johnson said.

Mrs. Johnson agreed a double standard exists. "I'm not going to paddle girls and I'm not going to allow them to be paddled because of a lot of health concerns," she said, citing the possibility of hitting a pregnant girl. "I won't subject myself to that kind of responsibility."

Like many other high schools, Woodward has a detention system. For being tardy, skipping a class, or misbehaving, a student can be ordered to serve detention before or after school. Accumulating eight unserved detention hours brings a suspension of 3, 5, or 10 days.

Sherri Stinson, a senior, never has been suspended but believes "in giving a person a choice."

Click to enlarge

"If you're having disciplinary problems, why keep students out of school ... [when] both parents work?" she said.

Jona Horn, a sophomore, has asked unsuccessfully to trade paddlings for suspensions, she said.

"We have to miss school and boys don't because they can get a paddling," she said, adding that her mother asked school officials to paddle Ms. Hohn. "I've been suspended lots of times and I'm at a point where I might be expelled."

While paddling may be dispensed to children of both sexes in elementary school, that appears to change as children approach adulthood, said David Jenssen, director of pupil placement for Toledo Schools.

Martin Vieth, executive director for secondary education, said district policy does not forbid paddling girls but said most high school officials probably shy away from it.

Some Toledo high schools have in-school suspension programs in which students are isolated all day to study silently. Mr. Vieth said he hoped such a program, which costs the salary of a teacher, soon would start at Woodward.

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