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School CP - June 2003
Jackson Sun, Tennessee, 1 June 2003
Corporal punishment still has a place in today's society
To spank or not to spank, that is the question.
For those who might have missed it in the news, the issue of corporal punishment is back, and it's hotter than ever. The latest round in this age-old debate began last month when South Highland Learning Center Principal Jesse Jacox came under investigation for allegedly using "excessive force" when paddling a student. According to police, the 13-year-old was left with bruises three inches wide on his buttocks.
Although Jacox was ultimately cleared in the incident, it has raised the question of whether corporal punishment still has a place in today's society. I believe it does.
Some people call paddling a barbaric practice. Some say it is an anachronism that has no place in today's society. But I disagree. To me, there's a big difference between abuse and a quick swat on the behind to get a child's attention. I would never advocate leaving marks on a child. But I see nothing wrong with an occasional spanking.
Spanking was a big part of my upbringing. As a child, my parents peppered my bottom with countless spankings. And it worked. It worked because it was an immediate reaction to my bad behavior. It worked because the tough discipline was always followed by a hug and a talk about why the discipline was necessary. And it worked because it reinforced in my young mind that my actions had consequences.
For those who would argue that there are plenty of other ways to discipline children, you're right. And if you're able to raise well-behaved, well-adjusted children without the use of corporal punishment, congratulations.
As for me, I'm just not comfortable with the idea of the government telling me how I should raise my child. There are already laws on the books protecting children from abuse. Outside of those laws, I believe the decision to spank, or not to spank, should rest solely with parents.
Some would argue that spanking teaches children that violence is the best way to settle situations. That's a specious argument. There are plenty of people who were raised with corporal punishment who turned out to be fine, upstanding citizens. Saying that children who are spanked grow up to become violent adults is like saying that every person who watches a violent movie or plays a violent video game is going to go out and murder someone. Could it happen? Sure, but the vast majority of time it doesn't.
Parents today face enough of a challenge trying to raise successful children in a society that is vastly different from the one they grew up in. Instead of taking tools of discipline away from parents, I believe we should give them the full arsenal and encourage them to use them. Instead of chastising parents who spank their children, we should be grateful that they care enough about them to correct them and to show them how to behave. And we should support them.
Maybe spanking isn't for everyone. But one thing is certain. It has been used effectively to raise generations of Americans. Utilized properly, I believe it can still be a useful tool today.
Peter Watson is The Jackson Sun's editorial page assistant.
Copyright 2003 The Jackson Sun
Jackson Sun, Tennessee, 1 June 2003
School system should stop paddling right now
It is long since past the time that the Jackson-Madison County School System eliminates corporal punishment as a discipline measure. While paddling a high school-age student is obviously absurd, it should be banned not only at the high school level, but also across every grade level in the system. Other school systems in rural West Tennessee should follow such an example.
Physically striking students has no place in school. It is as antiquated in the education community as the one-room schoolhouse and the slide rule. It should be abolished for two reasons: First, it may (and probably will) result in significant legal liability to the school system. It is not a big leap to see a criminal assault charge, perhaps a sexual assault charge, against a teacher or administrator.
Second, paddling has no positive impact on discipline.
We have heard the arguments from the pro-corporal punishment crowd, that a whack or two never hurt anyone, and that if it was good in their day then it should be good today. We disagree. First, it wasn't necessarily "good'' in their day. Second, that day is long gone.
That day is gone because our society has changed and no amount of well-intentioned wishing will bring it back. Our schools and our children now must struggle daily with the belief that violence is part of our society. Just turn on the television and you'll see over and over again that violence is portrayed as a legitimate way to settle disputes. This clearly wasn't the case in the old days. The last thing teen-agers and pre-teens need is authority figures using violence to reinforce violence-as-a-solution images that don't need to be reinforced. It simply doesn't make sense to add fuel to that societal fire. And the complaints that come from teachers and school administrators ring hollow when they worry that students today are too violent, all the while searching for the belt. That doesn't make sense.
There also is no evidence that paddling works. The schools are no safer under the current policy that allows paddling. In fact, our schools now have police officers stationed in the hallways. Teachers still raise concerns about discipline. Test scores are no higher. The dropout rate remains high. What exactly has paddling gained? The answer is clear: Not a thing.
Any educational strategy must have a goal. What is the goal of paddling?
School officials also must realize that students see enough violence, unfortunately, too often at home. Madison County has a very high number of domestic violence cases. Fuel is not needed to add to this fire either.
The issue of liability ought to give the school board pause as well. Recently, City Court Judge Blake Anderson chose not to bring criminal - yes, criminal - charges against South Highland Learning Center principal Jesse Jacox when police said the a student had "deep purple bruises about 3 inches wide'' and the foster parents said the bruises were from a paddling administered by Jacox. State law does permit paddling, but it does not permit assault, and some day a paddling may be seen that way by a judge. The system simply is placing itself in jeopardy for both criminal and very expensive civil charges. It doesn't have to do that.
Most any educator of note will tell you that discipline can be kept and kept well without paddling. It happens at hundreds of schools across the country each day.
Paddling is a barbaric act that accomplishes nothing and may end up costing the system dearly in the long run. It should be stopped now.
Sun editorial policyThe opinions expressed on The Jackson Sun editorial page are those of The Jackson Sun's editorial board and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sun employees or of the Gannett Co.
Copyright 2003 The Jackson Sun - 245 W. Lafayette Street, Jackson, Tennessee
Crimson White (Student voice of the University of Alabama), 4 June 2003
Best schools avoid corporal punishment
By Dr Alex Curtis and Michaela Curtis
The June 2, 2003, Newsweek Magazine featured several stories on the best high schools in the United States. High schools were ranked by Jay Matthews of the Washington Post considering the number of graduating students per school and the number of Advancement Placement or International Baccalaureate tests taken at these schools. Schools that "selected" (i.e. recruited) students based on grades or test scores were not included, thereby making this list a more accurate reflection of the 'average' high school. Seven hundred and thirty-seven schools ranked in the top four percent of all high schools in the United States.
Two of the top 737 came from Birmingham. The Alabama High School of Fine Arts made the top 10, coming in fourth, and Mountain Brook High School came in at 124th. Auburn High School ranked 224 while Grissom High School of Huntsville squeezed in at number 640. These four schools must be doing many things right. Their principals and administrators deserve our praise. Their Boards of Education deserve our admiration. Dr. Richardson and the Alabama State BOE has a homegrown local resource and should take a closer look at these success stories. As schools across the state fail and the gap between a minimal and a high quality education grows we can learn from these outstanding schools.
Grissom High School may be number 640, but that still places them in the top 4 percent of the United States. No small feat when dealing with shrinking budgets and ever increasing expenses. As this series of articles points out, money is not the only factor. Teachers must be willing to adapt and meet the ever-growing complexities of education. Students and teachers must respect themselves, their communities and the needs of society if they are to be truly successful and receive a quality education that is valued throughout the United States and the world.
Schools seeking excellence should consider modeling themselves after these schools. Boards of education may be faced with budget cuts, but one commonality among these schools is their approach to discipline. Discipline is firm, consistent and fair. It is administered without regard for race, sex or creed. Discipline is taught by modeling good behavior and mutual respect. Discipline is enforced by demonstrating age-appropriate responses to bad behavior. Hitting a teacher is not tolerated. And neither is hitting a student.
School paddling is still practiced in public schools in 22 states to hundreds of thousands of students every year, both boys and girls, right through age 19. As it turns out, only 28 of the United States' best schools are located in paddling states, whereas statistically we might have expected 45 to come from the 23 states that paddled last year (Delaware banned paddling this year). That means 72 percent of the best schools hailed from the 54 percent of states that didn't allow any paddling. Right off the bat, it seems that states that allow paddling do not do any favors for academics.
But then we wondered how many of those 28 best U.S. schools that are located in paddling states actually paddled? I called them all or checked their school handbooks online. As it turns out, not one of them do. Most, even those in extremely heavy paddling states like Alabama where almost all schools paddle, were shocked that I would even ask such a thing. "We use points, not paddles," one principal told me.
No matter how schools and states are rated, this result is not an anomaly. The non-paddling states do better in every measurable way overall than paddling states, and states that reduce and end paddling tend to do better over time as well.
All 100 of Newsweek's best schools do not practice violent and sexually humiliating "discipline" upon students. In that sense, far more than with college rates and test scores, every one of these schools are "the best schools," too. The entire list and series of articles is available at the online version of Newsweek.
Alex and Michaela Curtis are residents of Demopolis.
New York Post, 5 June 2003
Spanker Tried To Bribe Kids: DA
By Carl Campanile
A Queens middle-school dean of students has been charged with spanking four boys in his van - and offering them $65 bribes to lie and cover up the crimes, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said yesterday.
William Rini, 47, of Manhasset, L.I., a teacher at IS 145 in Jackson Heights, was charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child and could face up to two years in the slammer.
Rini, who was the adviser of a cave-exploring club and the wrestling team, pleaded not guilty after posting $5,000 bail.
On four separate occasions between January and May, Rini allegedly took students into his van, drove several blocks away, parked, and then placed the victim over his knee and spanked him 20 to 40 times with his hand or a brush.
Rini last week allegedly instructed a fifth 13-year-old student to tell the principal that no spankings had occurred, and gave the boy a tape recorder to record the conversation.
In a cell-phone call hours later, Rini told the boy to tell the victims that he would give each one $65 to deny the spanking allegations to the school principal, on the condition that those conversations, too, would be recorded, according to the criminal complaint.
Law-enforcement sources believe that other students may soon come forward to testify against Rini.
"The victims are children who sustained physical, mental and moral harm allegedly caused by an adult authority figure who should never again be allowed to work with children," Brown said.
Rini's lawyer, Isabelle Kirschner, said her client was a dedicated teacher who volunteered much of his time outside of school without pay to help kids.
"It could be a case of 'no good deed goes unpunished,'" she said.
Copyright 2003 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.
Shawnee News-Star, Oklahoma, 10 June 2003
Tecumseh School Board tables tobacco, keeps drug tests random
By Liz Jones
The Tecumseh Board of Education Monday voted once again to table a proposed policy that would prohibit tobacco use on school property at all times.
The policy would extend the district's current policy, which allows smoking in designated areas after 4 p.m., to comply with the requirements of an Oklahoma State Department of Health grant that funds a school nurse position for the district.
Tecumseh superintendent Tom Wilsie said the district would risks the grant if the policy is not implemented.
Wilsie also reported a group of Tecumseh Middle School teachers have requested a reinstitution of corporal punishment.
He told board members that corporal punishment was abolished in the district in 1990.
Wilsie said the issue would need to be discussed and studied at all sites before the board takes any action.
In other business, the board voted 3-1 to retain the district's current policy of random drug testing for students involved in extracurricular activities, instead of adding required initial testing.
Copyright © 1997-2002 The Shawnee News-Star
Mobile Register, Alabama, 11 June 2003
School board votes to end corporal punishment
By Rhoda A. Pickett
Corporal punishment may be on its way out in the Mobile County public school system.
The boards five members voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of Superintendent Harold Dodges recommendation to eliminate corporal punishment as an disciplinary option in the Student Code of Conduct.
Board member David Thomas offered an amendment to the final motion that includes a policy that will discipline those teachers who abuse a child.
The wording for the new policy eliminating corporal punishment will be brought back to the board members who will schedule a public hearing on the matter before taking a final vote.
The board almost came to a conclusion on corporal punishment in 2001, but at the last minute, the votes needed to do away with it vanished and it remained as a disciplinary option for teachers and principals.
Board member Hazel Fournier, who has pushed for the option to be dropped, simply voted in favor of the motion. She has said in recent board meetings that she wanted to see the option eliminated. State law grants criminal and civil immunity to teachers who use corporal punishment as long as they follow school policy.
Superintendent Harold Dodge said during a break between the boards pre-meeting and the start of the official meeting that corporal punishment isn't used much anymore.
Three years ago it was 1,200 incidents of corporal punishment. That number subsequently dropped to 500 with 360 being done at one school, he said.
"The reason for it is lawsuits," Dodge said, explaining the reason for the need to eliminate the practice. "I'm being as direct as I can be."
Copyright 2003 al.com. All Rights Reserved.
The Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio, 16 June 2003
Paddling isn't a hit in most districts
The rapidly fading practice is more common in rural areas.
By JoAnne Viviano
A Trumbull County school district is among 26 in Ohio that appeared on a list of those who paddle students.
LaBrae schools paddled seven students in seven paddlings during the 2001-02 school year, according to the most recent numbers compiled by the nonprofit Center for Effective Discipline in Columbus.
The district's superintendent was not available to comment.
Nadine Block, director of the center, said the figures are from the Education Management Information System at the Ohio Department of Education.
Statewide, 446 students were involved in 638 paddlings.
Twenty-eight states have total bans on corporal punishment, Block said, and Delaware is expected to pass a ban this year.
"Corporal punishment is going the way of the buggy whip," Block said. " ... We're a little bit behind the norm."
For example, in 1986, when Wisconsin reported 100 children paddled and banned corporal punishment, Ohio reported 44,000 paddled, Block said.
She said numbers get higher in the rural South, with Texas reporting 74,000 children paddled - 22 percent of the total United States number of 342,000 in 1999-2000, the most current year federal numbers are available.
Pennsylvania has a proposal seeking a ban before its Legislature now, Block said.
Administrators of districts that are on an older list of paddlers say the use of corporal punishment has all but faded away.
Statistics from 1999-2000 show that 155 students were paddled at Eagle Heights Academy, a community charter school in Youngstown, Block said. The numbers come from those released this year by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, she said.
In that same year, Block said, three other Mahoning Valley districts reported paddlings to the state: four students were involved in six paddlings in the Western Reserve School District; 15 were involved in 16 paddlings in the LaBrae School District; and 38 were involved in 109 paddlings in the Bristol School District. Block said Eagle Heights Academy numbers do not appear on state reports.
At Eagle Heights Academy, new administrators said workers from 1999-2000 are gone and they could not confirm the federal number. In April 2000, former academy director Jim LaRiccia said about two students were paddled each week.
Superintendent Alex Murphy said there has been minimal use of corporal punishment in his two years with the school.
"We do not use it very often," said Principal Sandra Sellers, who has been with the school since October. "I personally don't agree with it and have never administered it."
Murphy said administrators plan to recommend that the board adopt a policy to ban corporal punishment at the academy.
Block called the plan "wonderful."
"I'm just thrilled that Mr. Murphy is planning to ban corporal punishment," she said. "He knows it doesn't work. He knows kids' behavior doesn't improve. You just keep hitting the same kids over and over."
Current academy policy allows a principal or dean to use corporal punishment with written permission from a parent or guardian, Sellers said. Parents are notified before and after.
Bristol, Western Reserve
In Bristol, there have been no paddlings in a couple years, said Superintendent Rocco Nero.
The district has, instead, been using in-school suspensions, but they will be eliminated because of a lack of funds, Nero said. The alternative will be to re-institute Saturday suspensions. Nero was not with the district in 1999-2000.
Western Reserve Superintendent Charles Swindler said the numbers appear to be wrong. In the 11 years he's been superintendent, he said, there have been two incidents during which corporal punishment was used. None have been in the past two years.
The district does allow paddlings with parental permission. It is usually discussed as an alternative to expulsion or suspension and parents are involved. Parents are notified, in writing, of when the discipline will take place and also receive a report following the action. Principals deliver the paddling in the presence of a witness.
It's been used sparingly, usually at the elementary level, Swindler said.
"The threat is a deterrent," he said.
The higher numbers in the center report may be due to restraints of multi-handicapped students who are forcibly detained if they pose a threat to themselves or others, Swindler said.
Block said corporal punishment is defined as "the intentional infliction of pain for the purpose of stopping or preventing a misbehavior" and actions taken to protect students should not be included in the numbers.
Paddlings seem more common in rural areas, Block said. Urban areas are likely to ban it in the face of statistics that show minority children are paddled two to three times the rate of other students, she added.
She commended the Youngstown area, saying that the Diocese of Youngstown banned corporal punishment in 1984, a year before Ohio allowed its public schools to have such bans. In 1993, the state banned corporal punishments in most cases. State law allows districts to pursue it if a school board passes a resolution to keep it after a study by a committee, Block said. Parents have a right to refuse.
Copyright © 2003, The Vindicator
Dallas Morning News, Texas, 18 June 2003
Dallas Independent School District may end paddling
Some black trustees say corporal punishment is part of their culture
By Tawnell D. Hobbs
DISD administrators are proposing an end, or at least a sharp curtailing, to one of the oldest forms of schoolhouse punishment: the paddle.
But the idea of ending corporal punishment is meeting resistance from black trustees who cite a cultural preference for paddling.
The issue will get a full airing by trustees Wednesday, a week after it was broached at a committee meeting. It's the second time in recent years that the district has considered changes to its corporal punishment policy.
Nationally, 27 states have banned corporal punishment. Texas is among 23 states where it remains legal, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
The state leaves it up to school districts to determine whether students may be struck as punishment, and DISD has allowed paddling without a parent's permission.
Some area districts have banned the practice, while others require parents to sign a waiver allowing educators to paddle their children.
H.B. Bell, DISD's associate superintendent of alternative programs, said he had no figures on the number of kids paddled because the Dallas Independent School District doesn't compile them. The district said it doesn't track which campuses employ the "board of education," although trustees believe there aren't many.
But Dr. Bell, who is black, told trustees during the committee meeting last week that his impression is that black students get the punishment more than others. He thinks the district should scrap the punishment.
"For the most part, there are only black students being administered corporal punishment," Dr. Bell said.
Still, some black trustees say they're wary of Superintendent Mike Moses' suggestion that corporal punishment be allowed only on campuses that get the approval of 80 percent of parents.
"If it's not broke, don't fix it," said trustee Ron Price, who added that he isn't alarmed by Dr. Bell's statement about who gets paddled.
"That's our discipline style," Mr. Price said. "A paddle is part of a principal's toolbox. If we remove that tool, we may open up a can of worms that cannot be closed."
Trustee Lew Blackburn, a former assistant principal, said the paddle acts as a deterrent.
"In my culture, using a belt and switch is not out of line," he said. "It was used on me, and I think I turned out OK."
A majority of DISD trustees - at least five - say they don't support paddling.
"I think if a parent wants corporal punishment administered, the parent should be the person to administer that corporal punishment," said trustee Ken Zornes.
Board members Rafael Anchia, Joe May, George Williams and Lois Parrott also said they oppose corporal punishment.
"I think at the end of the day parents need to decide," Mr. Anchia said.
Trustee Jack Lowe said he hasn't given the issue much thought.
As with any district policy, changes would require a board vote.
DISD board President Hollis Brashear supports corporal punishment, but he said there are more important issues to confront, such as the annual budget and curriculum matters. He said that when the subject was broached about 2 years ago, there wasn't community support to throw out the policy.
Mr. Brashear said he would withhold judgment on Dr. Moses' recommendation until he hears from fellow trustees and parents. But he said that in his 11 years on the board, no parent has asked to do away with corporal punishment.
"There's some concern that we might be making a mountain out of a molehill," Mr. Brashear said.
Groups weigh in
But corporal punishment is a topic parents and advocacy groups often weigh in on. Some, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, have come out against it.
"Corporal punishment may affect adversely a student's self-image and school achievement and ... contribute to disruptive and violent student behavior," says an American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement.
A U.S. Department of Education survey in 1999 found that nearly 74,000 of Texas' 3.9 million students were paddled that year. About 83 percent were boys, the survey said.
According to the federal study, blacks made up 14 percent of Texas students but 24 percent of those paddled. Whites were 43 percent of students and 51 percent of those paddled, while Hispanics were 40 percent of students and 24 percent of those paddled.
Joyce Kelly, who has children in DISD schools, said she's in favor of throwing out the practice.
"You can't use it in the home, so why should you be able to use it in school?" Ms. Kelly said.
Dr. Bell, who recommends that DISD end corporal punishment, said it is no longer effective.
"They're not amenable to ... swats as they were at one time," said Dr. Bell, a former principal.
Mr. Williams said there are alternatives to paddling, such as alternative school. "We have ways of dealing with children today in a better method than I think we were dealt with," he said.
Fox News Network, 19 June 2003
Hannity & Colmes
Interview with Ron Price
By Michael Reagan and Alan Colmes
REAGAN: Welcome back to HANNITY & COLMES. I'm Michael Reagan filling in for Sean Hannity.
Is paddling in schools a good way to keep kids in line? Or does it just encourage more violence? Some trustees at a Dallas school are in a battle right now over the right to continue using corporal punishment.
We're joined now by Ron Price, a Dallas public school trustee.
Ron, welcome to my great talk show -- my great talk show. I'm so used to saying that. You know I do talk radio.
COLMES: You come and take over.
REAGAN: I'm sorry, now I've got to go to Ron. I should be spanked.
RON PRICE, DALLAS PUBLIC SCHOOL TRUST: You should be spanked. I' ll vote for that.
REAGAN: I grew up in a house, my mother, God love her, spanked me on the back of each leg 10 times. And she only did it a couple of times and I learned quick, you better not cross mom.
In fact, one time I walked into the library where she was at, I said, "Mom, I need to be in the library." And she said, "Why?" I said, "I've done something terribly wrong and I need to be spanked." I actually volunteered for it.
But you know something, that spanking told me when I was doing something right, when I was doing something wrong and what the P's and Q's were. Isn't that what it's supposed to do?
PRICE: Yes, sir. Yes, I totally agree.
REAGAN: What's happening with -- what's going on in Dallas?
PRICE: Well, there's a couple of my colleagues...
REAGAN: You don't have kids yet, Alan. You'll understand some day.
COLMES: Give me a chance. I just got...
PRICE: My colleagues here in Dallas don't believe in corporal punishment. I respect their views. But there's a lot of people who do believe in corporal punishment, and I respect their views.
A lot of parents in the district I represent, I represent a very poor district. I have mothers who have three or four children and no father at home. Some of the schools I represent 90 percent of the schools are single parent mothers with no father figures around. And the only sort of discipline a child receives is at school. Some of the only males these kids see are at school.
REAGAN: Can't we deal with them in school and give them corporal punishment, then we hold them accountable, or we have to deal with them later on when they get out of school and finally the police and society has to deal with them in another way?
I think it doesn't cause children to go off the page and become violent. I think it causes children not to be violent.
PRICE: Well, there's a reason why we have built more prisons than schools in the state of Texas. That's because of lack of discipline. We need discipline and structure.
COLMES: Hey, Ron...
PRICE: Sure, I know a lot of people out there say we need prayer back in school. But it takes discipline to even pray.
COLMES: Before we get to prayer, let's deal with the spanking issue.
One thing at a time.
Ron, it's Alan. Good to have you on the program.
Look, the issue here isn't just spanking and corporal punishment, it's whether or not the school should do it. The question is, should parents and do parents want to entrust to the state, to the government, meaning employees of the school, of the state, the right to spank your kids? That is a parental decision...
COLMES: ... and you want -- basically, you want a mandate -- and they do mandate in Texas that the school has that right in some degree.
PRICE: No. That's a great -- You made a great point. It should be the parent's choice. And that's all I'm fighting for here in Dallas.
There's some of the colleagues say, "We don't need corporal punishment period." Yes, but there's a lot of parents who want our help, who need our help. And we say...
COLMES: Parents say in some places it's up to -- the school could do it with or without parental consent in some places? That's wrong, isn't it?
PRICE: Not here in Dallas. That is wrong. Not here in Dallas.
COLMES: You can't do it there, but that's wrong.
PRICE: That's another district. But here in Dallas, you have to have the parent consent. And that's what we have. And I...
COLMES: I can't imagine -- I'm not a parent yet, I just got married two weeks ago. So give me a little time here.
REAGAN: We're counting on it.
COLMES: Thank you. Counting on me to bring more liberals into the world.
But the idea that I would entrust to a school system, or to anybody other than my wife or myself, to spank my kid? I wouldn't see that power displayed.
REAGAN: If I can just jump in for a minute. You know what they're doing instead? They don't spank the children -- Sister Mary Siprian (ph) had 20 ADD kids in her class until she spanked it out of them. Now they're giving drugs to kids.
COLMES: That may be a public school. You're talking about a private school. But public school? I mean, you conservatives rail against the government. You want to give the government the right to spank your kids, Ron? Come on.
PRICE: No, I want to give the parents that right. You're trying to take away the parents' rights.
COLMES: No, I'm not. I'm saying it's not the school's right to do it.
PRICE: Yes, you are. Parents that have the right.
COLMES: I didn't say anything parents not doing it.
PRICE: If a parent says, "I want this -- the principal to spank my child, they should have that right." A lot of parents need that type of help. And that's what I support. I support the parents and I support discipline. And I support rules.
A lot of our urban school districts around the country, the kids are totally out of control. The teachers can't teach because they're too busy dealing with -- We must have discipline.
REAGAN: I am with you. When Alan has kids, he's going to agree with both of us. We'll continue this on the other end of the break.
You're watching the network America trusts for real journalism, fair and balanced.
Ron, this issue of spanking in schools, corporal punishment, 51 students injured last year by school employees as "The Dallas Morning News" reported. Doesn't that tell you there's a problem with the school doing this?
PRICE: Not at all. Those are accusations. We have no documents, no data supporting that.
COLMES: Are you saying no students were injured?
PRICE: Well, we don't have any data that supports that. Those were just some phone calls that's came in. No one gave their name.
COLMES: Is it a lie? Is it not true that students were injured during the commission of corporal punishment?
PRICE: We're trying to find out now. We have no data to support those claims.
COLMES: Well, if it's true, do you acknowledge that corporal punishment by a school is a bad idea, if we find that it's true that any of these kids were bruised?
PRICE: Well let me put it this way, I don't support abuse of any child. But I support discipline. I support a principle having the right to having a parent there to watch them administer corporal punishment.
COLMES: Well, the superintendent of Dallas schools says that blacks get this punishment more often and that there's a racial component here, that blacks are victimized.
PRICE: But here's the deal. The African-American trustees here in Dallas, we're not complaining about it. The African-American community is not complaining about it.
COLMES: But the superintendent is? Why is the superintendent complaining about it?
PRICE: Well, why isn't he complaining about it? Because it's not a major problem. It's not like we have widespread corporal punishment in Dallas. Most of the schools in Dallas independent school district do not even use corporal punishment. A select few schools do, and I support those.
REAGAN: Mr. Price, in my house, more white people are getting corporal punishment than black people. You can trust me on that one.
It's not a bad thing. I was bringing up just before the break -- I was talking to Alan, in fact, during the break. That what we've done is we've said, "Let's take corporal punishment out of the school. Let's not punish little boys who are acting like little boys." But what have we replaced it with?
REAGAN: America seems to be so mad about corporal punishment but yet we'll willing to give kids drugs to keep them calm in school. Is that outrageous?
PRICE: That is outrageous. That's my argument.
I don't believe in time-outs, because time-outs all it does is give them five minutes to figure out how they got caught.
I don't support suspicion, because suspension is a three-day vacation.
Most kids will walk up to you today and say, "Suspend me. Please suspend me." Because they want to go home and play their Playstation. They don't have to do no schoolwork. They just sit at home and watch T.V. all day, eat and drink, and have a great time because they're suspended and they're protected because they're suspended. We do not need to have suspension.
REAGAN: And Mr. Price, something else for you and Alan.
I mean, the bottom line is, corporal punishment does hurt. It's supposed to hurt. And children will always scream to high heavens about the hurt.
But the bottom line is, you don't want it to hurt again. So what happens next time? You're good and don't act up in class and the other kids can learn instead of have to watch you cry like a baby all day long.
PRICE: But you know, corporal punishment is not for everyone.
Principals just on select kids don't say, "I don't use corporal punishment on that child." We have to get the parents' permission. And if parents support having corporal punishment, then all I am saying tonight is to say I support what the parents want to do. It used to be a country where we cared about what the parents felt but seems like all the laws are being turned around and the parents don't have any rights.
COLMES: It's crazy to give that power to the state to do that to your kid. But look, thank you very much for being with us.
Hey, Michael, great working with you.
REAGAN: Good to see you.
COLMES: Say hi to your mom, Jane Wyman, for me.
REAGAN: I will. Hi, mom.
COLMES: The famed Hollywood actress -- she's watching -- who doesn't agree with me but watches the show anyway.
REAGAN: She thinks you need to be spanked.
COLMES: No, thank you. That's all the time we have tonight.
Content and programming Copyright 2003 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2003 Federal Document Clearing House, Inc., which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Mobile Register, Alabama, 24 June 2003
Paddled girl's bruises looked like abuse, say Clarke school officials
But assistant principal, teacher testify they didn't consider corporal punishment abusive because student was hit only once
By Karen Tolkkinen
GROVE HILL -- A 12-year-old special education student was bruised so badly when paddled last October that several Clarke County school officials -- including the teacher who administered the paddling -- said Monday that under other conditions they would have reported the bruises to authorities as possible abuse.
However, two of those officials -- Jackson Middle School Assistant Principal Rance Carr, who witnessed the paddling, and teacher Anthony Ezell -- said they did not consider the paddling to be abusive because Ezell hit the student just once.
The family of the student, Katelyn McIntyre, took photos of the bruises across her buttocks and right hip, and their attorney showed them to the school officials at a hearing Monday to review complaints from the child's parents.
"Some people bruise more easily than others," Ezell testified at the administrative hearing at the Clarke County Board of Education office. "I paddled her more lightly than the others, and they didn't complain."
On Oct. 7, Ezell paddled Katelyn and three other students after his special education reading class became too disruptive. He used a stiff piece of rubber carpet molding on which "Home Training" is printed in red letters. It was the first time he had paddled students during the school year and the first time he had used the molding, Ezell said.
Katelyn had no record of behavior problems, just difficulty with some subjects, he said.
Ezell testified that he paddled the girls more lightly than he paddled the boys, because he was brought up to treat girls with respect.
The bruises were visible for nine days, according to Jim Sears, an attorney hired by the girl's family.
The family has filed a $3 million complaint against the rural school system, claiming that its special education system is deficient, that Ezell broke school policy in the way he paddled the girl and that their daughter's rights were violated.
The administrative hearing is required by state law before a party can sue a governmental body such as the school system.
Ezell said the students knew they could choose to go to the principal's office instead of being paddled, but none went.
The hearing has served as a forum for discussing the controversial practice of corporal punishment in the schools.
Some states and school systems have banned corporal punishment altogether or at least restricted its use. In Alabama, it's left up to each school system to decide whether to use it and how. State law provides teachers civil and criminal immunity as long as they follow procedure.
Witnesses have said Ezell did not follow procedure.
Carr acknowledged that under strict reading of a policy that forbids paddling students within view of others, Ezell was in violation since the paddling took place in the hallway in the presence of the other students. Carr said he interpreted the policy to mean students can't be paddled in front of the classroom.
Board policy also says students should be hit on the buttocks, and Katelyn's hip also was struck. Carr first said he believed Ezell simply made a mistake in hitting her from the side, then conceded that it, too, could have been a violation of board policy. Ezell said the girl might have moved when he hit her.
Policy requires that teachers confer with a special ed student's education team before paddling. Ezell said he did not do that. He said it would have required a letter and 10-day notice to assemble the education team, and his class needed discipline immediately.
A series of accusations between Ezell and the girl's family followed the paddling.
Ezell told police that Katelyn's older brother, William Christopher Payne, attacked him on school grounds the day of the paddling as Ezell walked to his car, according to court records.
Payne's parents have acknowledged that he attacked the teacher. Katelyn and Payne are the stepchildren of Jackson Assistant Police Chief Dale Coulter.
Ezell had to get stitches near his eye. A grand jury chose not to indict Payne.
Ezell had faced a harassment charge because of the paddling, but was also not indicted.
Testimony is expected to continue today.
Copyright 2003 al.com. All Rights Reserved.
Times Daily, Florence, Alabama, 27 June 2003
School system to pay $30,000 for 12-year-old's paddling bruises
The Associated Press
Bruises on a 12-year-old special education student paddled by a teacher will cost the Clarke County school system $30,000 in an agreement that blocked a lawsuit.
The family of student Katelyn McIntyre had asked for $3 million in the case, but settled for the lesser amount and agreed not to sue, school officials told the Mobile Register for a story Friday.
The $30,000 goes for attorney and experts' fees and counseling and medical expenses for the child.
School board member Lynda Malone, a retired teacher and high school counselor, said details of the agreement still must be completed by lawyers and an administrative court judge before it is final.
Neither side admitted any wrongdoing.
On Oct. 7, teacher Anthony Ezell hit four students in his special education reading class after repeatedly warning the class to settle down. He spanked each student once with a stiff piece of rubber carpet molding under the supervision of the Jackson Middle School assistant principal.
Three students did not complain, but Katelyn's family took photos of bruises across her buttocks and hip.
Ezell said he was shocked to learn the paddling had bruised her. He hadn't intended to do that, he said.
Katelyn's mother, Theresa Coulter, had filed an administrative claim with the school system, a step required by Alabama law before she could file a lawsuit.
"I'm just glad it's over," she said Tuesday after two days of testimony. Her attorney, James D. Sears of Daphne, recommended she not comment further.
The agreement also called for training teachers in the use of current and best professional practices in special education programs and services, including behavior issues, discipline and the use of individualized education plans for students.
School officials also must review the corporal punishment policy and educate school personnel about all discipline policies.
Clarke County will allow Sears, a former teacher and superintendent, to conduct at least one day of special education training in the school system.
Mobile Register, Alabama, 27 June 2003
Corporal punishment criticized at meeting
Few attend hearing at school system headquarters
By Rhoda A. Pickett
A sparsely attended meeting about corporal punishment in Mobile County public schools Thursday yielded just two speakers, and both said they want to see the practice eliminated.
Board member Hazel Fournier -- who has pushed for the past couple of years to have the option eliminated from the Student Code of Conduct -- was the only board member to attend the hearing in the board's meeting room at Barton Academy downtown.
"Well, silence gives consent," Fournier said when no one immediately stepped forward to speak for or against the elimination of corporal punishment. A few minutes after the hearing started, Fournier declared it to be over.
But Fournier did give two elementary school principals who entered seconds later a chance to state their positions on corporal punishment.
"We hope to have an alternative with students who display inappropriate behavior," said Janese Sanders, principal of W.D. Robbins Elementary in Prichard. "We need an alternative that we can use to give to kids to let them know that we mean what we say. We just want to have an alternative that kids will respond to favorably."
Her colleague, Evelyn Murphy, principal of Martha Thomas Elementary in Whistler, agreed.
"We need discipline with dignity," Murphy said. "We don't have to resort to corporal punishment to get them to do what we want them to do. I don't agree with it."
Rhonda Waltman, assistant superintendent of student support services, said that 13 written responses were received from the public regarding keeping corporal punishment as an option. Eight respondents wanted it eliminated; four wanted it to remain as a disciplinary option and one offered no comment.
Superintendent Harold Dodge, who recommended that corporal punishment be eliminated, has said that he fears keeping it would lead to lawsuits against the school system.
Alabama law permits school spankings but also allows the system to banish the practice. State law grants criminal and civil immunity to teachers who use corporal punishment as long as they follow school policy.
Copyright 2003 al.com. All Rights Reserved.
Herald Tribune, Sarasota, Florida, 28 June 2003
Principal cleared of cruelty, but criminal past made public
The Associated Press
ALEXANDRIA, La. -- A grand jury cleared an elementary-school principal of cruelty, but the investigation made a felony in his past more public.
Charles Moore, 51, acknowledged that his job application did not mention either of his guilty pleas, to felony theft in 1984 and to misdemeanor theft in 1982.
But Moore, principal at Walter D. Hadnot Elementary School since 1999, said the Rapides Parish School Board has known about them for two years. He said he also has told teachers and parents about his past, and uses himself as an object lesson.
"Every time I talk to the students in my school I tell them what I've done and where I've been," he said. "And I tell them, 'You don't want to go there.'"
Moore was arrested on a cruelty charge in April, after spanking a 6-year-old girl.
The child had been sent to the office for allegedly biting another girl, but denied doing that, her mother, Cindy Finister, said at the time. She said her daughter's buttocks were severely bruised, and the girl said Moore had swatted her four times.
On Thursday, a Rapides Parish grand jury decided there was too little evidence to try Moore. He said Friday that he was ecstatic about the "no true bill".
"I didn't think there was a case against me in the first place, but that was a process I had to go through," he said.
He also said he has no grudge against the child or Finister, who said in April that her daughter had been in trouble before for "confrontations" in school.
"The little girl is an innocent," Moore said. "She's a lovely little girl. I'm sad she had to go through the process. I'll welcome them back to the school. I'd like to talk to the mother."
Moore would not talk about why he did not mention the guilty pleas when he applied, though he said he did tell the grand jury.
He pleaded guilty in 1984 to felony theft - stealing turbine fuel from Petroleum Helicopters Inc. - and in 1982 to misdemeanor theft for cashing a $100 check on a closed account.
He got a suspended three-year sentence for the felony plea in Vermilion Parish, and a suspended one-year sentence and 18 months probation for the misdemeanor at the U.S. Navy Exchange in New Orleans.
Court records show that prosecutors agreed not to prosecute Moore, who was discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1979, for cashing two additional worthless checks.
Moore said a union lawyer told school officials about the convictions two years ago. "The superintendent and powers that be are aware that I'm a convicted felon," he said.
If the Rapides Parish School Board "chooses to fire me now for something they've been aware of for two years, there's nothing I can do about that," he said.
Superintendent Patsy Jenkins could not be reached for comment Friday.
"I've made some mistakes in my life, very bad mistakes, but I've straightened my life out," Moore said. "I did those things. I take responsibility for them."
Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk
WTAE-TV Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 30 June 2003
Bus Driver Allegedly Spanks Teens For Sex
Man Free On Bail
LIGONIER, Pa. -- A bus driver in the Ligonier Valley School District is accused of spanking two teenagers after saying he saw a videotape of them engaging in a sex act, WTAE's Chris Glorioso reported.
Robert Lemmon, 49, of Ligonier, Westmoreland County, allegedly told the male and female high school students that he watched the act on a bus surveillance tape.
The students, who did not ride Lemmon's bus, reportedly told Lemmon that they would be spanked if their parents found out about the sex. Lemmon allegedly said he would spank the kids in exchange for covering up the incident.
Lemmon took the girl to the Old Colony hunt club on July 24 and spanked her after making her take off her pants and underwear, police said. The boy had the same thing done to him, police said.
According to an affidavit, Lemmon stared at the girl's private areas and said he had "roaming hands and rushing fingers."
Lemmon, who drives for Lodestar Bus Lines, was not on the clock the day of the alleged incident.
Lemmon is charged with simple assault, indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and invasion of privacy. He is free on bond.
WTAE Action News was unable to contact Lemmon for his comments.
Copyright 2003 by ThePittsburghChannel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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