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www.corpun.com   :  Archive   :  2010   :  US Schools Feb 2010

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UNITED STATES
School CP - February 2010



Corpun file 22020

Ocala Star-Banner, Florida, 4 February 2010

School Board asks: To spank or not to spank?

By Joe Callahan
Staff writer

To paddle or not to paddle, that was the question the Marion County School Board debated Thursday during a review of the 2010-11 Student Code of Conduct.

Paddling
Only 20 states and less than half of Florida's 67 school districts allow paddling. Locally, only half of the schools paddle students. Statistics are from Aug. 24, 2009, through Jan. 19, 2010.

Top 5 paddlers

Ward-Highlands Elementary.......47
Evergreen Elementary............19
Maplewood Elementary............17
Lake Weir Middle................11
Stanton-Weirsdale Elementary....10
DISTRICT TOTAL.................165

Occasional paddlers

Elementary: Emerald Shores, 9; Saddlewood and Wyomina Park, 7 each; Anthony, Shady Hill, Sparr and Sunrise, 6 each; and Greenway, Hammett Bowen Jr., Horizon Academy and Reddick-Collier, 1 each.

Middle: Fort King, 9; and North Marion, 1.

Non-paddlers

Elementary schools: Belleview, Belleview-Santos, College Park, Dr. N.H. Jones, Dunnellon, East Marion, Eighth Street, Emerald Shores, Fessenden, Fort McCoy, Harbour View, Madison, Oakcrest, Ocala Springs, Romeo and South Ocala.


Click to enlarge

After a long debate, it appears corporal punishment will remain an option for school principals. About half the county school principals use the method.

The board was deeply divided on the issue.

Board members Bobby James and Judi Zanetti believe corporal punishment is a liability and there are more effective, and available, discipline strategies.

On the other hand, board members Jackie Porter, Sue Mosley and Ron Crawford believe that administrators need every available discipline option.

Those board members supporting it agreed that school-level administrators should decide whether to paddle, as long as they get parental permission.

A public hearing about the code of conduct will be held in April or May. That's when the School Board will officially vote on the issue.

The code of student conduct is a set of policies governing student behavior and how schools address discipline issues.

Parents of students who continually misbehave can give permission to allow the principal, or designee, to issue three swats with a paddle in front of a witness. The debate about whether school administrators should paddle goes back decades.

Many principals, even those who rarely utilize paddling, say having the option is important in a discipline toolbox.

Ward-Highlands Elementary principal Gary Smallridge is a definite supporter, and user, of corporal punishment as an effective discipline tool.

In fact, Smallridge -- and his assistant principals and deans -- have accounted for 99 of the 453 district paddlings, or 22 percent, since August 2008.

As principal at Maplewood Elementary in 2008-09, his school led the county with 52 of the county's 288 paddlings, or 18 percent.

This year at Ward-Highlands, his school leads with 47 of the county's 165 paddlings -- or 28 percent. That's more than double any other school in the district.

Smallridge said before habitually unruly children are paddled, he sends a corrective behavior plan home to their parents.

That's when a parent makes a decision whether their child should be suspended from school or paddled if behavioral issues continue.

The parent signs the document and sends it to the school.

"I would say 90 percent of the parents at both Maplewood and Ward-Highlands support the use of corporal punishment," Smallridge said.

Smallridge said, however, the practice does not work on every child. Some children do not change their behavior after they are paddled, he said.

"We have students whose parents want us to paddle, but I won't," he said. "We have found that in some cases other types of discipline works better."

On the flip side, John McCollum III -- principal at both Osceola Middle and Eighth Street Elementary -- doesn't support paddling.

"At the middle school level, they are becoming adults" and there are other available disciplinary avenues they can take, he said.

"But we don't even do it at Eighth Street," said McCollum, who once used the option early in his career.

Meanwhile, Dr. N.H. Jones Jr. Elementary principal Don Raymond believes that corporal punishment should be left in the code of conduct.

Though Raymond and his staff have only paddled one child since August 2008, he believes it is an important option for his school.

"I will like to still have that option," he said, adding that he has had no other problems with the child who received the paddling in the 2008-09 year.

School Board members Zanetti and James both agree that the idea of the code of conduct is to create a policy that is used equally throughout the county.

Right now, only half the principals use it at all.

"Like Mr. James said, we are trying to create consistency," said Zanetti, adding the option causes inconsistency. "I think we can come up with a better way."

Superintendent of Schools Jim Yancey also believes corporal punishment should be banned. He said it does create liability issues.

"I think it's risky business," he said, adding that some parents have contacted Department of Children and Families even after granting permission for administrators to paddle their child.

Mosley and Crawford believe that as long as parents give permission then the School District is covered when it comes to liability.

There are no known lawsuits filed against the School District in connection with corporal punishment.

Porter said she supports it as long as they are getting written permission from the parents.

Copyright 2010 Ocala.com -- All rights reserved.



blob Follow-up: 14 April 2010 - School Board's ban on paddling draws mixed reviews: Decision removes corporal punishment from code of conduct




Corpun file 22019

masthead

kob.com (KOB-TV EyeWitness News 4), Albuquerque, New Mexico, 5 February 2010

Paddling students still common in New Mexico

By Jeremy Jojola, Eyewitness News 4; Charlie Pabst, KOB.com

Paddling students is still permitted at many New Mexico schools, and one mother who gave permission for her misbehaving son to be swatted is now furious, claiming it was too excessive.

The mother of a 14-year-old San Jon teen, who will be referred to as "Brandy" for this story, admits that her son has problems paying attention in class, but she says her 90 pound son didn't deserve what she calls "excessive spanking" at school.

The teen was paddled at San Jon School, near Tucumcari.

"I think it caused more damage to his behavior," said "Brandy."

She was out of town that day, but was sent photos of her son's purple, bruised behind by his grandmother. The photos are now part of a state police report.

"Brandy" recalled her reaction when she first saw the photos: "I was sick. I was hurt it could be taken this far... I was very upset."

She claims her family told the female principal would swat her son when they gave permission.

The report says instead of the principal, it was a school coach who swatted the boy three times. The coach allegedly told the student, "If he was tough enough to talk back to the teachers, then he was tough enough to take the swats."

Because of the bruising and because her son cried after the first swat, the investigating officer concluded in his report that the paddling "could have been excessive," but also noted it did not affect his mobility, and that permission for the swatting was granted by the boy's family.

The investigator also noted that names of students were on the paddle, saying it was his impression that the school takes pride in spanking.

"Brandy" says the paddling did more damage than just bruising. She said, "I think his self-confidence is like zero. He's stressed a lot -- he really doesn't want to go to school."

San Jon Superintendent Gary Salazar said he cannot comment by law on any student's punishment. He did talk about the district's paddling policy in general. He says corporal punishment is rarely used, and only as a last resort that is usually requested by parents.

Salazar said, "Having been in education for almost 20 years, it's one of those things I think over time has lost some of its effectiveness, but it does work for some kids. It is an option."

New Mexico is one of 20 states across the country where school corporal punishment is still legal -- including spanking.

Out of New Mexico's 89 school districts, 36 still allow corporal punishment--like San Jon. The law leaves it up to local school boards to decide if it should be used.

Salazar said, "A lot of times, it's a reflection of the community itself. The board members, of course, represent the community, and I'm sure if they felt like the policy was something the community did not want, then we would probably make that adjustment." In one school year, 705 students in New Mexico were swatted, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

The latest state to ban corporal punishment is Ohio after Nadine Block of the Center for Effective Discipline pushed for the ban.

Block said, "We are teaching children that you solve problems through violence."

She said it should be banned in New Mexico, too, because corporal punishment is already banned in the military, foster care, and in private child care.

Block also says it opens up schools for lawsuits.

Block said, "One of the primary problems is that children are injured."

"Brandy" has put her son in another school and has been told by the district attorney's office that it will likely not move forward with the case.

"Brandy" says she may sue.

Districts still allowing corporal punishment

Posted at: 02/04/2010 10:01 PM
By: Jeremy Jojola, Eyewitness News 4; Charlie Pabst, KOB.com

The following is a list of school districts with corporal punishment policies that allow swatting or spanking. After repeated phone calls, a small number of districts did not report whether or not they allow the punishment, so some schools with a policy may not be on this list.

Animas Public Schools
Aztec Municipal Schools
Bernalillo Public Schools
Bloomfield Schools
Captian Municipal Schools
Carlsbad Municipal Schools
Carrizozo Municipal Schools
Central Consolidated Schools
Clayton Municipal Schools
Cloudcroft Municipal Schools
Clovis Municipal Schools
Corona Public Schools
Elida Municipal Schools
Eunice Municipal Schools
Farmington Municipal Schools
Floyd Municipal Schools
Grady Municipal Schools
Grants-Cibola County Schools
Hatch Valley Public Schools
Hobbs Municipal Schools
Jemez Valley Public Schools
Logan Municipal Schools
Lordsburg Municipal Schools
Lovington Municipal Schools
Mosquero Municipal Schools
Portales Municipal Schools
San Jon Municipal Schools
Springer Municipal Schools
Truth or Consequences Municipal Schools
Tucumcari Public Schools
Vaughn Municipal Schools
Wagon Mound Public Schools
West Las Vegas Public Schools



blob RELATED VIDEO CLIP

Personal comment by C. Farrell: Following is a four-minute TV news report on the above story. Bizarrely, although the complaining mother is given a pseudonym in the report, she appears full face on camera. Stills of the boy's so-called "bruised" bottom (i.e. temporary superficial redness) are shown. Anti-CP agitator Nadine Block is wheeled out yet again. However, there is a hint in the reporter's remarks that the mother might be making a mountain out of a molehill: the medical report notes that the boy certainly was not injured, and that the paddling "could have been" rather than "was" excessive, which suggests that it cannot have been all that excessive. The education authorities upon investigation have decided that the matter probably need not be pursued. Above all the question raised yet again in this case, as in so many others, is why do mothers give permission for paddling and then take exception to its normal transient physical effects? Also, the story mentions only the boy's mother and grandmother. Is this yet another case where there is no father, and, if so, is that not possibly significant? Is it possible that, if there were a father, he might have some idea of what a boy's paddled rear end is supposed to look like, and tell the woman that it will fade away in a few days, and to stop making such a fuss?

HERE IS THE CLIP:

IMPORTANT: Copyright in this video material rests with the original copyright holders. This brief excerpt is reproduced under the "fair use" doctrine EXTERNAL LINK: opens in new window for private, non-profit, historical research and education purposes only. It must not be redistributed or republished in any commercial context.




Corpun file 22040

whas11.com (WHAS 11 TV), Louisville, Kentucky, 6 February 2010

Some Ky. schools still use paddling as disciplinary measure for students

By Renee Murphy

(WHAS11) -- Paddling as a form of punishment for schoolchildren?

Lincoln County Schools, a district about two hours away from Louisville, still uses paddling as a means to punish students who misbehave.

"Anytime we paddle a child we are treating them just like it's our own child," said Dan Story, principal of Stanford Elementary, who uses paddling to discipline students. "We've just seen it be very effective when other areas like taking away recess or putting them in detention may not work as a last resort."

Before a principal can paddle a student, parents must sign off on the measure, two witnesses must be present during the paddling and a student is usually only paddled once during their tenure at a school.

Those with the Kentucky Center for School Safety say the number of corporal punishment cases in the state are down. Lincoln County is not the only district practicing paddling.

"In some pockets of the U.S. we see corporal punishment increasing again because suspensions have not really been the effective tool that we thought it was because parents leave kids at home," said Jon Akers, a representative with the Kentucky Center for School Safety. "And they get a three day holiday."

Lincoln County school leaders say they haven't received any complaints, and until they do, they say their policy stands.

A study by the Center for Effective Discipline shows 22 states still participate in corporal punishment. Their study showed that in the 2006-2007 school year more than 220,000 students across the country experienced physical punishment at school.

Mississippi had the highest number of corporal punishment cases.



blob RELATED VIDEO CLIP

TV news report (4 minutes 35 seconds) of which the above is a brief text summary. The TV station is in Louisville and the reporter stresses that there is not much CP going on there, but out in rural Lincoln County, two hours away, it is still supported by parents and still regarded as effective in some cases. The paddle used at one school is pictured and its principal is interviewed, as also is the district superintendent. It is stated that paddling takes place only with parental consent. There is a vox pop of pro-paddling parents. However, Kentucky's overall CP statistics are trending down. (As far as I know, that is true everywhere in the USA, and I should be curious to know on what basis a spokesman from the Kentucky Center for School Safety claims in the film that in some areas it is going up again.)

HERE IS THE CLIP:

IMPORTANT: Copyright in this video material rests with the original copyright holders. This brief excerpt is reproduced under the "fair use" doctrine EXTERNAL LINK: opens in new window for private, non-profit, historical research and education purposes only. It must not be redistributed or republished in any commercial context.




Corpun file 22051

Waco Tribune-Herald, Texas, 10 February 2010

La Vega principal's arrest puts spotlight on corporal punishment policies

By Wendy Gragg
Tribune-Herald staff writer

A school paddling turned alleged injury to a child is a sticky situation, Bellmead Police Chief Robert Harold said.

Bellmead police arrested La Vega Elementary School principal Chris Borland, 37, on Monday on a charge of injury to a child, a third-degree felony, based on allegations that Borland had paddled a child too hard.

Borland, who was identified in a Monday Tribune-Herald story by his middle name, Ryan, was released after posting $4,000 bond.


Bellmead police arrested La Vega Elementary School principal Chris Borland, 37, on Monday on a charge of injury to a child, a third-degree felony, based on allegations that Borland had paddled a child too hard.

Harold said the line between sanctioned paddling and a crime is when investigators can see evidence of injury to the child that suggests force above and beyond that of a normal paddling was used.

Harold said it's a situation he has not dealt with during his career.

La Vega Independent School District officials did not answer questions about the Borland case or how prevalent paddling is in the district generally.

Borland has been suspended from his position.

Policies allowing discipline such as paddling are fairly common in school districts across Texas.

More than 650 Texas school districts have policies that allow for the use of corporal punishment, according to the Texas Association of School Boards.

Of the districts that TASB works with, 482 have a policy allowing corporal punishment but also allow parents to opt out of that option for their children.

The TASB shows 91 districts that do not allow corporal punishment.

Waco ISD states specifically that its schools do not use corporal punishment. Midway, China Spring and Crawford school districts all mention corporal punishment in their student codes of conduct.

La Vega ISD has a fairly detailed policy, found in the student handbook, which states that parents can opt their child out of corporal punishment by submitting a written request to the campus principal.


Click to enlarge

Parental interest in paddling is largely what led Temple ISD to readopt a corporal punishment policy last spring, with rules almost identical to La Vega's.

John Hancock, Temple ISD assistant superintendent for student services, said some parents indicated they wanted a continuity of discipline between home and school -- they spank at home and find it appropriate for their child to be paddled at school.

The policy "is there so that we are not in contradiction of what the family discipline program might be," Hancock said.

Hancock said paddling is a useful tool for the district to have at its disposal when dealing with disciplinary issues but that actual instances of paddling are rare. He could not recall an instance when a student had been paddled so far this school year.

The paddling would never be more than three swats, Hancock said, and administrators are cautioned to err on the side of being too light rather than too heavy-handed when administering the swats.

A discipline equivalent to paddling might be three days of out-of-school suspension, Hancock said.

Hancock said the district uses an abundance of caution, and parents always are contacted before an administrator considers corporal punishment, to make sure that form of discipline is sanctioned by the parent.

"That's a corporate decision between the school and the home, not a decision to be made unilaterally at the school," Hancock said.



blob Follow-up: 17 June 2010 - La Vega Elementary School principal not indicted in student's paddling




Corpun file 22069

The Times Daily, Florence, Alabama, 17 February 2010

Teacher suspended without pay for spanking student

By Lisa Singleton-Rickman
Staff Writer

(extract)


Click to enlarge

FLORENCE -- The Florence School Board on Tuesday night voted to suspend a Weeden Elementary teacher accused of spanking a student in violation of the district's policy on corporal punishment.

Physical education teacher Shonna Beckwith was given three days suspension without pay. The board voted 5-0 in favor of Superintendent Kendy Behrends' recommendation, with one abstention from Vicky Kirkman.

Beckwith met with the board in a personnel hearing about 30 minutes before the regularly scheduled monthly school board meeting at 5 p.m. She requested a closed hearing and has 15 days to give a written notice of appeal.

There was no discussion of Beckwith's case during the regular meeting.

The TimesDaily learned that the spanking incident occurred in mid-January and involved a first-grader. The child reportedly had documentation on file at school requesting no spanking.

The board has reviewed its corporal punishment policy within the past year, but has not banned the practice, as it is allowable by law in Alabama. Schools have procedures to follow in delivering corporal punishment.

[...]

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