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www.corpun.com   :  Archive   :  2003   :  US Schools Jul 2003

-- THE ARCHIVE --


UNITED STATES

School CP - July 2003



Corpun file 11607

masthead
Pottstown Mercury, Pennsylvania, 9 July 2003

Man accused of spanking, kissing boys

By Carl Hessler Jr.
Mercury Staff Writer

NORRISTOWN -- An Upper Moreland man who ran a communication arts school for kids had a bizarre way of communicating with his male students -- spanking and kissing them while inside a locked garage, prosecutors alleged.

Robert Clark Jr., 62, executive director of Cinekyd, a television, radio and film school for children, was charged Tuesday with endangering the welfare of children, indecent assault, corruption of minors, simple assault and harassment in connection with alleged inappropriate contact he had with eight boys, ages 10 to 15, over seven years. Clark is also charged with three counts of false imprisonment for locking three of the boys in a garage or an office during the spankings, prosecutors said.

"If it's spanking he likes, it's spanking we'll see that he gets when he comes to court," said Risa Vetri Ferman, Montgomery County's first assistant district attorney.

Clark, of Knock N Knoll Circle, was arraigned on the charges before District Justice Paul Leo of Hatboro. Clark was taken to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000 cash bail. As a condition of bail, Clark was ordered to have no contact with children who are not related to him, a move that could essentially shut down his school, which 70 to 80 children attend.

"The charges are very severe. Protecting those kids is what's paramount," said Assistant District Attorney Todd Stephens, who sought a high bail for Clark.

If convicted of the charges, Clark, who is not married and has no children, could face more than 50 years in prison.

Cinekyd, authorities said, is a program for kids 7 to 17 who want to learn the art of radio, television and film production. According to Cinekyd's Web site, the program allows students to work on state-of-the-art equipment to create a weekly cable TV series and radio show and an annual feature-length project. The business is in the 2800 block of Terwood Road.

"Nowhere else in the world can kids learn the communication arts in such a comprehensive way," the Web site boasts.

Cinekyd began in 1976 in Clark's basement, an outgrowth of his weekly dramatics course, according to the Web site. The program moved in 1977 to a small industrial campus in the Willow Grove section of Upper Moreland.

While girls also attend the school, the spankings involved only boys and were not part of any disciplinary action for misbehavior, according to authorities.

"These weren't ordinary spankings where a coach or someone might pat someone on the behind for a job well done. They were taken into a secluded room with the doors locked. They were told to drop their pants and they were spanked hard on their buttocks," Ferman said.

"It's not your typical locker room high jinks, and it's not discipline or corporal punishment in any way. Some of the spankings were called birthday spankings, but the behavior was not limited to just their birthdays."

There is no evidence to suggest that Clark videotaped the spankings, prosecutors said. Allegations of impropriety first came to light last fall when the mother of a 15-year-old boy reported to police that her son told her that on three occasions, Clark had spanked him with his pants pulled down. The teenager, who had attended Cinekyd for five years, told police the first incident occurred when he was 10, according to court documents.

The boy, according to a police affidavit, told authorities Clark took him to a garage across the street from the school, forced him to drop his pants and to lie across Clark's lap. The boy told police he was spanked, with his underwear still on, hard enough to result in a red mark on his buttocks, court documents indicate.

"(The boy) also stated that Clark had locked the overhead garage door and there was no other way to get out. (The boy) stated he was scared and felt trapped," Upper Moreland Police Officer John D. McCue Jr. wrote in the criminal complaint.

The boy was spanked again when he was 11 inside Clark's office, where the door was locked with a dead bolt and there were no windows, police said.

"After the spanking, Clark would say, 'You know I love you,' and then he would hug and kiss (the boy) and send him on his way," McCue alleged in the criminal complaint.

During a third incident in 2002, the boy and a friend were taken to the garage and ordered by Clark to pull down their pants and to kneel on chairs with their backsides facing Clark, police alleged. Clark would "flatten out" the boys' underwear before striking them with his hand, court documents indicate.

The teenager also told authorities he saw other boys being kissed on the lips and patted on their buttocks by Clark, court documents indicate.

"The investigation grew as one boy led to others and detectives made attempts to interview all the children involved," Ferman said. "The garage is really what scared some of the kids because they felt so isolated and trapped."

When interviewed by police, some of the boys said it was a custom for Clark to spank them on their birthdays, according to the criminal complaint. One boy told police the rule was that once a boy turned 16, there were no more spankings, according to the criminal complaint.

The child endangerment charge stems from the fact Clark was responsible for the care of the children, prosecutors said.

"Whether it's during the school day or after school or on weekends, parents trusted him with the care of their children. He had an obligation to protect them, not to violate them in any way," Ferman said.

"From what I've been told, the parents whose children who have been victimized are outraged by this. In a sense, more than the children, they feel the violation of trust."

The Mercury 2003



Corpun file 11625

Ambler Gazette, Pennsylvania, 10 July 2003

Cinekyd exec may face 200 years

By Stefanie Ryan
Staff Writer

Robert Clark Jr. of Knock Knoll Circle in Willow Grove was arrested and arraigned Tuesday at district court in Hatboro on charges stemming from allegations from eight juvenile males that Clark, the executive director of Cinekyd in Willow Grove, and a former teacher in Upper Moreland School District for 35 years, spanked them.

Cinekyd is a program for youths ages 7 to 17 who want to learn the art of radio, TV and film. It is located at 2805 Terwood Road.

Clark's bail was set at $100,000 cash, which he did not post, and he was remanded to Montgomery County Correctional Facility until his preliminary hearing.

The criminal complaint from Upper Moreland Township Police Department charges Clark with eight counts each for endangering the welfare of children, indecent assault, corruption of minors, simple assault and harassment. Clark is also charged with three counts of false imprisonment.

District Justice Paul Leo said Clark would face maximum penalties of 224 years in prison and $400,000 in fines if convicted.

"I want to be clear that these are very, very serious charges against you," Leo said at the arraignment.

The investigation by Upper Moreland police department began in October of 2002 after a concerned parent said her son was spanked with his pants down by Clark on three separate occasions.

Statements from eight different male victims, ranging in age at the time of incidence from 9 years old to 14 years old, varied in gravity from birthday spankings in a group atmosphere to a now 14-year old boy's allegation that Clark took him to a garage across the street from Cinekyd by himself when he was 10 and with another boy last summer, where he was locked in and spanked with his pants down.

The 14-year-old said he was also locked in Clark's study when he was 11 or 12 years old, where he was spanked 10 times. The boy alleges that Clark told him "You know I love you" and then gave him a hug and a kiss.

Police said a now 16-year-old male said he was spanked on his 10th or 11th birthday and that it was "a custom for more involved boys to be spanked on their birthdays." The boy told police the boys were spanked a number of times according to their age and a "few more for good luck." The boy added that Clark patted him on his behind "almost every day" during his five years at Cinekyd.

Clark was represented by William F. Mabom of Doylestown, and was accompanied to court by his sister, with whom he resides. Two parents of children named in the affidavit currently enrolled at Cinekyd also attended the arraignment to speak on behalf of Clark.

A woman from Warrington, the mother of one of the alleged victims, said she had received a phone call from another student's mother who said Clark was spanking the children and she was "calling the police and trying to have the school shut down," the woman said.

The woman said the Cinekyd program "has been more valuable than anything in his [her son's] life."

"If there was any wrongdoing in the place, the kids would not want to go there every day," the woman said.

A letter Mabom presented in court from a 22-year old former student from California in Clark's behalf seemed to have the opposite impact intended by the defense.

Assistant District Attorney Todd Stephens said the letter is an admission by the former student that the spankings occurred. The letter stated the spankings were part of a birthday celebration and were not "humiliating or punishing."

Stephens said because of the "nature of the offense and volume of the counts," he was requesting a condition of bail be that Clark have no contact with any children under the age of 18 that are not his own.

Leo agreed to the condition, stating against Mabom's objections "bail is not meant to punish someone. It is to make sure that they show up at the hearing."

Mabom said the bail condition was a violation of Clark's "due process right" and that by refusing to let him work at Cinekyd, he was impacting not just Clark's life, but the lives of 70 to 80 children who attend the program as well.

"This is patently unfair and unnecessary under these circumstances. I think you should hold off until the preliminary hearing, when we actually hear from some of these people as opposed to a page and a half of allegations. I believe Mr. Clark is entitled to the benefit of the doubt at this time," Mabom said.

Leo said he agreed to the bail condition because Clark owns no property in the township and is on a fixed income as a now retired volunteer at Cinekyd, and because of the seriousness of the charges.

"It's just too much," Leo said.

Montgomery Newspapers 2003

Reader Opinions

Name: Lisa Kufs

Date: Jul, 14 2003

I was greatly saddened to read the account of Robert Clark's arrest and the supposed allegations against him. As a child, I too attended the Cinekyd program for several years. The Robert Clark I knew was a man who sincerely believed in the potential of all children, and worked to give them the skills they would need to succeed, not just in video production, but in life. Through the use of affirmations, goal-setting, and technical training, Robert Clark helped build an unshakable core of confidence and self-respect in all the young people he taught. In his program, I learned to set my sights on my dreams and accomplish my goals. As a child, I suffered from dyslexia and learning disabilities, and there was doubt about whether I would make it to college. Now I've graduated with a B.A. in Social Sciences and English, and I am currently attending graduate school with plans to eventually obtain my Ph.D. I have written a play, entitled "Avalon", that was performed in May 2003 by Bryn Athyn Community Theater. If Robert Clark had not encouraged my script-writing interests as a child, I know that I never would have accomplished so much. Because of Robert Clark, I believed in myself enough to overcome the challenges that I faced. Sending me to Robert Clark's Cinekyd program was the best investment my parents could ever have made in my future. As for spanking: we live in an age of rapid change. Once, hazing was considered a regular part of the activities of various organized groups. Now it is outlawed in many places. Spanking appears set to follow a similar pattern. While I was at Cinekyd, I was never the subject of any spanking, nor did I ever observe any inappropriate pants-down spanking. I cannot _imagine_ that that could have happened. There may have been a traditional birthday spank, but if there was, I honestly can't remember much about it, which tells me that it was pretty much a non-event-- a goofy ritual that didn't mean anything besides "happy birthday". Which is not to say that the alleged victims were lying, but certainly in this day of newfound paranoia, when so many unfortunate cases are coming to light, it seems to me that it isn't hard to "embellish" the truth in a way that puts something innocent into a bad light. This could just be a horrible misunderstanding of the type that arises when an older culture collides with a newer one. Our collective values about spanking have changed. Spanking has come to symbolize something abusive. Robert Clark, as your article points out, is retired. He may not have kept up on these trends. But is that a reason to try to bring down a program that has helped so many? Is that a reason to put a man in jail for 224 years? Robert Clark has spent his life in service to the young people of this area. I hope that any of them who feel as I do, that they have gained immeasurably from his program, will not hesitate to speak out on his behalf. 

Copyright 1995 - 2003 PowerOne Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Corpun file 11624

masthead
Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania, 12 July 2003

Police search school founder's house for spanking evidence

By Larry Lewis and Keith Herbert
Inquirer Staff Writers

UPPER MORELAND - Police searched the Cinekyd media-arts school in Willow Grove and the home of executive director Robert J. Clark Jr. yesterday, looking for pictures and videos of students being spanked.

The search was triggered by information that surfaced after Clark, 61, was arrested Tuesday and charged with spanking eight boys who attended the school and kissing some of them.

An affidavit filed in Hatboro to obtain three search warrants said two informants, identified in the document only by their initials, contacted detectives on Wednesday and said they had knowledge of the videotaping of spankings.

One, a former student of the renowned school, told investigators he was spanked by Clark while someone else videotaped the incident.

The second informant, a Willow Grove woman who is the sister of a onetime student at Cinekyd, said that she saw a video of Clark, who founded the school 27 years ago, spanking at least 10 boys.

In the affidavit, students' accounts to police describe regular spankings of clothed boys on their birthdays in front of other students. On other occasions, some boys recalled being taken to a garage or office and told to remove their pants before they were spanked by Clark, police were told.

The search-warrant requests were filed by Upper Moreland Detective John D. McCue Jr., who is investigating the allegations of child abuse at the school where children 7 to 17 are taught radio, television and moviemaking skills.

As many as 80 to 100 boys and girls study there each year, and thousands have taken part in the program over the last 27 years.

Authorities confirmed yesterday that searches were being carried out at the school's campus on Terwood Road, a garage across the road where some spankings are alleged to have taken place, and the home on Knock N Knoll Circle where Clark lives with his sister.

Officials said they seized hundreds of videotapes, three computer hard drives, and one laptop computer. They expected it would take days to analyze the evidence.

Police searched for "all evidence related to and including videos, photographs of any spankings and any cameras used to capture spanking," an affidavit of probable cause states.

Detectives also wanted to seize computers, disks or disk drives where pictures of spankings might be stored, court records state.

The videotaping allegations came from "respected" members of the community, police said.

A man who said he attended Cinekyd between 1986 and 1996 told police Clark spanked him from the time he was 7 until he was 17. During birthday celebrations, Clark would instruct the students to "capture the entire event on film, which would include the spanking," the affidavit states.

A woman who said her sister attended Cinekyd 25 years ago told police she was once at a Cinekyd presentation at Upper Moreland Middle School and saw a video of Clark spanking at least 10 boys, the affidavit states.

The affidavit also revealed that police consulted with the FBI's behavioral analysis unit in Quantico, Va., about the sexual and psychological motivations of adults spanking children for sexual gratification.

Clark, a retired Upper Moreland media-arts teacher, posted $100,000 cash bail on Wednesday and was released from the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, where he had been taken after his arraignment.

He is charged with eight counts each of endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault, corruption of a minor, simple assault, and harassment, and three counts of false imprisonment.

2003 Philadelphia Inquirer and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.



blob Follow-up: 19 August 2003 - Private spankings spark controversy at art school


Corpun file 11601

WRAL-TV, Raleigh, N. Carolina, 15 July 2003

Northampton County Schools Add Corporal Punishment As Discipline

NORTHAMPTON, N.C. -- School administrators in Northampton County are picking up the paddle again to maintain discipline.

Northampton County School Board Chairperson Katherine Moody equates the paddling to spanking.

The school board voted to adopt a new corporal punishment code for first-, second- and third-graders.

The decision isn't sitting well with everyone.

Lisa Terry's children are on their best behavior under her watch at the Jackson Public Library. But they're not always perfect angels.

"Yeah, they all get into it sometimes," Terry said. "But I don't agree with that spanking much."

Spanking -- or paddling -- will be an option in Northampton County Elementary Schools this year for grades one through three.

"If the parent at home would discipline their children, we wouldn't have to use it at all," Katherine Moody, the Northampton County School Board chair, said of the paddling.

It has been several years since the system condoned paddling unruly children. But Moody said that when principals run out of discipline options, suspension from school is the only thing left.

"You send a child home, and I keep saying: 'Children cannot learn at home,'" Moody said.

The new corporal punishment policy states that only the principal can paddle a child, in the principal's office, with a witness. And it is never to be administered in anger.

Also, parents must be told when it will happen.

"We don't plan to do any abuse," Moody said. "We don't plan to scare anybody's child. I know they will be lightly paddled. It will be like they are home getting the home remedy -- spanking."

Northampton school leaders hope that just the sight of a principal's paddle will make its use rare.

The state does not keep track of which school systems use corporal punishment. But several systems use it as an alternative to suspension, and only with the permission of the parent.

Copyright 2003 by WRAL.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Corpun file 11603

masthead
Times & Democrat, Orangeburg, S. Carolina, 16 July 2003

Exit Exam scores in District 4 show mixed results

By Lee Hendren
T&D Staff Writer

(extracts)

COPE -- Exit Exam results were presented to the Orangeburg Consolidated School District 4 trustee board Monday by Dr. Shirlan M. Jenkins, assistant superintendent for instruction and educational programs.

Tenth-graders take the tests each spring.

-- 80 percent passed the reading portion in 2003. That figure has stayed relatively steady over the past four years.

-- 77.2 percent passed the writing portion in 2003, reflecting a steady slide each year since 2000, when 88.7 percent passed this subject.

-- 71.8 percent passed the mathematics portion in 2003. That is the lowest percentage in the past four years.

................

In other news:

................

-- Trustees gave first reading to a policy change which would require schools to have written permission from a parent or guardian before spanking a kindergartner, first-grader or second-grader.

Another change would be a statement that if the principal designates someone else to administer the spanking, the designee must be a certified employee.

Corporal punishment is used sparingly, one principal said at Monday's meeting. Many parents prefer that their children be spanked at school rather than sent home as punishment, another principal said.

Trustee Peggy J. Tyler abstained from the vote, saying, "I've got to meditate on it a while." Later she said she recalled reading somewhere that a spanking can make children hostile, rather than obedient.

....................



blob Follow-up: 23 October 2003 - District 4 closer to retiring 'board of education'


Corpun file 11620

masthead
Cedartown Standard, Georgia, 17 July 2003

BOE talks yield minor results

By Aimee L. Harmison

(extracts)

Members of the Polk School Board of Education met again in a special session Monday night in hopes of coming to a decision on how to soften the blow of a $1.4 million reduction in state funding. This reduction will directly affect the district's budget, and members have met several times in the past weeks to decide how to trim their finances to include this loss in funds.

.........

The student body population of Crossroads Academy was estimated to be around 40 students. "I want to look at that $200,000 we are spending and look at the possibility of selling the property that the alternative school is on," said board member Frank Plant. Lumpkin brought up the notion that phasing out the alternative school and cutting out the in school suspension program would save the board a minimum of $400,000. Instead of cutting out the ISS program completely, the board discussed replacing the coaches who now supervise the program with para-professional teachers. The para-pros would be paid a lesser amount of salary, thus trimming ISS program costs by several thousand dollars. The discussion then went back to the alternative school. Lumpkin asked Pack if he had any statistics on how many children in the alternative school were eventually rehabilitated and sent back to regular education classes. He also asked how many children were repeat visitors to the alternative school and how many students graduate. "Basically, I want to know if we are doing any good by placing the children in the alternative school," said Lumpkin. Pack agreed to check on those statistics requested and present them at a later date. Board member Bettie Faye Lewis suggested that the board look at all of the extra programs offered by the district, and see what could possibly be cut, instead of singling just a few programs for discussion. Speaking on the subject of alternative school, Rutland favored the idea of implementing corporal punishment as a means of helping students with behavioral problems. "I believe you need to get the paddle and straighten them out like that. By no means should you beat a child, but paddling makes them think twice about acting up." Rutland added, "I'm willing to stay here until midnight, but this group is not willing to make any cuts and we are wasting our time sitting here." He made a motion to adjourn the meeting. The motion passed 4-3 to adjourn, with Plant, Lumpkin, Dr. Harold Wingfield, Tommy Sander voting yes and board Chairman Rick Lundy, Warner and Lewis voting no. Board member Regina Roberts was absent due to sickness. No future meetings were scheduled as of press time.




Corpun file 11668

masthead
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pennsylvania, 17 July 2003

Probation likely for school bus driver who spanked teenagers

Suspect admits his role in incident, OKs plea

By Virginia Kopas Joe
Post-Gazette Staff Writer

A veteran Ligonier school bus driver agreed to plead guilty yesterday to spanking two teenagers who believed they had been caught on surveillance tape having sex on a school bus.

Robert Scott Lemmon, 49, driver for the Lodestar Bus Lines, which serves the Ligonier Valley School District, appeared before Ligonier District Justice Denise Thiel. His attorney, Chris Huffman, said Lemmon and the Westmoreland County district attorney's office reached a tentative plea agreement.

"Mr. Lemmon wants to put this behind him," Huffman said.

Lemmon had no prior record. In late June, Ligonier Township police charged him with simple assault, indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and invasion of privacy.

The felony charge of endangerment was dropped yesterday. The remaining charges are misdemeanors and Lemmon is expected to get four years' probation.

Police said Lemmon, after saying that he had seen a surveillance video recorded on a school bus, persuaded a 17-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl to go to Old Colony Hunt Club on Peoples Road in Ligonier Township on the afternoon of June 24 and told them to shed their pants so he could spank them.

The boy and girl did not ride Lemmon's bus, and the Lodestar firm would release no information on him. But police charged that Lemmon told the teens he had viewed a bus company tape from late April showing the two engaged in a sex act. The bus company videotapes students as they ride on buses.

According to the criminal complaint, Lemmon told the teens he saw the tape but destroyed it by spilling hot coffee on it. When the teens said that they "would be in trouble if their parents found out and would probably get spanked," Lemmon told the two that he was going to spank them, because he had covered it up.

Police said that on June 24 Lemmon took the girl to the hunting club and forced her to remove her pants and underwear before spanking her. The boy went to the camp three hours later and was also forced to remove his pants and underwear and was spanked. Court documents say that after the boy left, Lemmon made the girl disrobe again, but did not touch her.

Lemmon has been free on bond.

Copyright 1997-2003 PG Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.




Corpun file 11619

masthead
Galveston County Daily News, Texas, 18 July 2003

Paddling no longer an option in GISD

By Carter Thompson
The Daily News

GALVESTON - The slap of paddles hitting backsides will no longer echo down the halls of the island's public schools.

Galveston Independent School District leaders had corporal punishment removed as a punishment option in the district's code of conduct.

"It is against the way we are trying to move," said Superintendent Lynn Hale, who recommended the district make use of positive reinforcement to influence student behavior.

More than 2,000 teachers this summer trained for Girls and Boys Town, a program aimed at avoiding disciplinary problems through ongoing positive reinforcement rather than reactive punishment.

The program has cut the number of office referrals for disciplinary problems up to 75 percent during the first year of use, Hale said.

The district previously had given parents the option of whether to allow corporal punishment of their children, she said. The punishment was limited to paddling and was rarely used, Hale said.

District leaders on Wednesday also updated the code of conduct to mirror changes in state law that allow students to be referred to the alternative school for insubordination and foul language.

Whether to refer for those offenses is at the option of the district, Hale said.

The state law added to the list of things that can earn a ticket to the alternative school. Other reasons for referral include criminal activity in or around school or pending felony charges.

Copyright 2003 Galveston County Daily News




Corpun file 11662

Shawnee News-Star, Oklahoma, 24 July 2003

Tecumseh teachers seek new punishment policy

By Liz Jones
SNS Staff Writer

Parents, teachers and administrators who attended an open meeting Tuesday widely supported including corporal punishment in Tecumseh Public Schools' discipline plan.

School board members met with approximately 25 teachers and parents who gathered at the Tecumseh High School Alumni Center to ask questions and voice opinions on a policy that would allow schools to paddle students for misbehavior.

Tecumseh did away with corporal punishment in 1990, after the State Department of Education issued a moratorium on paddling or swatting, Superintendent Tom Wilsie said. Soon after issuing the moratorium, the department ended the moratorium, but Tecumseh kept the discipline policy that did not allow corporal punishment.

Wilsie said some teachers and parents requested the issue be examined three years ago, and more recently, a group of middle school teachers asked that the board consider it for the 2003-04 school year.

Wilsie said he held an earlier meeting with teachers, administrators and parents from all Tecumseh school sites, and most of them expressed support for corporal punishment.

"I've had dozens of parents who've expressed interest in it," said Tecumseh kindergarten teacher Karri Etchieson, who said she spends so much time disciplining her students that she is not able to teach everything she feels she needs to. Paddling would provide consequences for children's misbehavior and would instill respect for authority, she said.

She said, if the policy is implemented, "I'm going to be a better teacher and provide more."

Kristy Smith, a parent of two Tecumseh students who has served as a volunteer and substitute teacher in the district, agreed that the threat of a paddling will help children behave.

She said her daughter would have done better in school "If her teacher could have showed her ... it's going to be a paddling."

Others expressed concern about how the policy would be carried out and who would administer corporal punishment.

Wilsie said he would be responsible for drafting the policy, and would take in to consideration similar polices at other schools and the wishes of parents and teachers.

"If it's not something the community wants, it's not something Tecumseh Public Schools should do," he said.

He said by law, student discipline must be kept private, so students would not be paddled in front of other students.

Parents would have to give permission for their children to be paddled, he said, and paddling would not be a first response or the only means of discipline.

"If a parent does not want this, it does not have to happen," said board member Terry O'Rorke.

"I would like to see it happen as right as possible," said Janis Yandell, who has a grandchild in Tecumseh schools. Yandell admitted that she was not completely comfortable with the idea of paddling, but acknowledged that "it works."

Wilsie told board members that he would study corporal punishment policies from other districts and draft a sample policy for the board's next meeting. The board will meet again at 7 p.m. Aug. 11 in the Tecumseh High School library.

Copyright 1997-2002 The Shawnee News-Star



blob Follow-up: 18 August 2003 - Corporal Punishment Returns to Tecumseh


Corpun file 11743

masthead
News-Press, Fort Myers, Florida, 24 July 2003

Principal faces abuse charges after paddling

By Don Ruane

A church school principal is facing an aggravated child abuse charge related to a paddling incident, authorities reported.

Elizabeth Chaney, 57, principal of the Mount Hermon Christian School, was charged Tuesday after Fort Myers police investigated a June 24 incident, according to a police report. She was free Wednesday on her own recognizance.

Aggravated child abuse is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000, according to state statutes.

The school is part of the Mount Hermon Baptist Church at 2856 Douglas Ave.

The boy, whom police would not identify, developed large bruises on his buttocks after he was disciplined for clapping inappropriately during a class, according to the report.

He is between the ages of 6 and 12, according to police spokeswoman Kara Winton. A more specific age would allow people to identify him, she said.

The Rev. William Glover said the incident that led to the investigation happened during the church's summer camp program.

He declined to comment beyond that, citing the legal nature of the unfolding events.

Attempts to reach Chaney by telephone and at her address in the police report were unsuccessful Wednesday. She did not respond to a message left on an answering machine.

A public records search returned no records of similar or other charges from her past.

Chaney is a career educator who served as coordinator of the Lee County School District's Dunbar Community School before moving to Mount Hermon's school in 2000. She was appointed in 1998 as a member of the Florida Gulf Coast University presidential search committee to replace the retiring Roy McTarnagan.

Fort Myers resident Phillip Ward said he's known Chaney since he was a child.

"She's real by the book. She seems to be really honest," Ward said. "I've never known her to lose her cool."

The paddling incident occurred June 24 and was investigated June 26 by the state's Child Protection Team, which ruled the bruises consistent with abuse, according to the police report.

The boy was sent to Chaney's office because of his clapping. Chaney called the boy's mother and offered to let her pick him up or let Chaney paddle him, the report said.

The mother told Chaney to discipline the youth. The report noted that the boy's brother was paddled several years before without any injury, so the mother felt there would be no consequences this time.

The mother discovered and photographed the bruises when the child spoke to her at home about the incident, the police report said.




Corpun file 11660

Times Record News, Wichita Falls, Texas, 27 July 2003

School spankings still common

By Ann Work
Education Reporter

City View High School graduate Laura Galarza said when she was a student at City View, she learned the hard way what her principal, Steve Harris, meant when he talked about giving gifts.

"He read a list of names over the loud speaker and said, 'Come to the office and get your gifts,' " Galarza said. "It wasn't a good gift."

It was a spanking, done with a board, in the principal's office.

City View sophomore Nick Maynard said he also received "a gift" from Harris when he was a freshman. He was called to the office for a dress code violation because his shirt was untucked at a football game. The junior varsity football player said he was told he could choose his punishment: three days of In-School Suspension or two swats. He took the swats.

"I think it's better," he said. "You get your punishment over with. Then you can go on about your business."

As principal of the new high school that sits on the north edge of Wichita Falls, Harris is just one of many local administrators who still includes corporal punishment as a discipline tool.

In an age of lawsuits, spanking in high schools is not as dead as you might have thought.

Many high school policies in the area, including those in the Wichita Falls Independent School District, condone spanking by principals who want to use it and usually if parents OK it beforehand.

At City View Junior/Senior High School, Harris keeps the long, wooden paddle in a prominent spot on his desk.

Harris makes no apologies for his pro-spanking policy, which he uses along with In-School Suspension, mandatory tutorials and D-hall. He said it enables him to run a tight ship.

"You can't have an education without establishing discipline," Harris said. "Once you establish discipline, education is boundless."

When it comes to spanking, there's a right way to do it, he said. He has a teacher in the room when the spanking is given, and he first asks students if they know why they are getting it.

"It's a very effective means of discipline when it's done properly and with respect. When it's abused, that's not right," he said.

Kids know the difference, he said. "I'm not going to do anything that's going to hurt a kid."

Cussing at a teacher would earn a student an "automatic couple of swats," Harris said. Three tardies might also qualify, he said.

City View parent Gwen Maynard said some of the City View parents don't agree that having shirts untucked at football games is reason enough for swats, but she supports the policy in general. "There are a whole lot of spoiled kids out there," she said. "I think that helps the kids to see where the line is and how far you can go."

Bowie superintendent Monte Barnes said spanking is part of his discipline management plan, but it isn't used much in his district. "If it's handled in the right manner, if the kids understand it's not a game. Kids also understand for the most part when they're being punished and when someone's just abusing them. I think they know the difference in that."

Barnes likes corporal punishment because it's quick, and a student is quickly returned to class, where Barnes said he belongs.

"All the alternate methods that remove the student from the classroom and from being in front of the teacher is somewhat anti-productive," he said. "With as many students as you have, with as many different personalities in the school, if you can issue the discipline and get them back in the classroom doing what they're supposed to be doing, that's in the long-term best interest of the student."

Burkburnett High School principal Del Hardaway said he used to spank students but had one bad experience with it and made a personal pledge never to do it again.

"I was swatting a student, the student flinched as I was coming down, and the paddle hit him on the belt line. It hurt him. It didn't hurt him bad, but I just decided I'm never going to do that again," Hardaway said.

Two other schools Hardaway worked in also used spanking to curb bad behavior. "It's quick and it's over," he said.

Of the three Wichita Falls high schools, only principal Jim Selman at Wichita Falls High School said he spanks sometimes. First the parent is contacted and must give an OK. "It's another alternative. If that's used and it's not working, we scratch that and go to another alternative," he said.

Hirschi High School principal Bob Mobley said that he believes that taking away an adolescent's ability to socialize makes a greater point. "There are other ways to discipline rather than hitting. Lots of our kids live in violence, so why should we condone it?" he said.

Mobley questions the lesson a spanking teaches a high school student. "Does it teach, 'I have more authority, therefore I can hit you'?' "

Rider High School principal Nat Lunn said he's had students request to be paddled instead of being sent to In-School Suspension, where a student is isolated for a certain length of time.

"It'd make them mad," Lunn said when he refused.

Lunn said he doesn't spank even though the law gives him the opportunity. "It was not our style, and it was not that effective," he said.

In many cases, teachers like the back-up that spanking gives to their own authority. When Charles Hicks interviewed for his job as defensive coordinator for the City View High School football team three years ago, the first thing he noticed on Harris' desk was the board. It gave him a good feeling, he said. "I knew I would love it over here, that it would be a dream come true," he said.

Hicks likes the discipline policy that Harris enforces. "He doesn't mess around," he said. "He's consistent."

Copyright 2003, Times Record News. All Rights Reserved.



blob Follow-up: 11 September 2003 - Spanking policy draws criticism, praise


Corpun file 11731

Spartanburg Herald-Journal, South Carolina, 30 July 2003

Campobello pastor and wife start Christian school

By Susan Orr
Staff Writer

A Campobello pastor and his wife plan to open a Christian school in Greer next month. The school, Valiant Christian Academy, will be located at 600 N. Main St., just south of Highway 29. It's an outreach of Followers of Christ Fellowship Church, which is led by the Rev. C.C. Baker.

Baker's wife, Beverly, will be headmistress at the school, which will offer instruction for grades 1-12. She will be assisted by a second teacher who is a fellow church member.

Beverly Baker, who has home-schooled her children for several years, said church members were eager for this school. So far, all seven of the enrolled students are church members.

"Our congregation is inspired by the work that they see in my son, and the progress," she said.

The curriculum will be the same Christian Liberty Academy curriculum Beverly Baker has used with her son, and each student will work individually. Baker will not draw a paycheck for her services.

"It'll be very similar to the home-school setting," she said.

Students will wear uniforms, and the school will use corporal punishment on students whose parents have given their consent.

Beverly Baker has a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies, though neither she nor the school's other instructor are certified teachers.

"I am not a certified teacher, but I really believe I am qualified to teach the children," she said. "I believe that certification and accreditation are not the only things you should look for."

The school does plan to eventually hire certified teachers and pursue accreditation, the Bakers say.

Christ Fellowship Church plans to build a sanctuary on White Horse Road, and when the church is complete the school will relocate there.

The new school is part of a trend toward Christian education. There are more than 250 Christian schools statewide, and the number is growing, according to Reece Yandle, executive director of the S.C. Association of Christian Schools. Christian schools stress discipline and respect for authority, Yandle said, making them attractive to some parents.

"Many people are still trying to get away from what they consider an inferior academic education or problems in the school they are attending," he said.

All material 2003 Spartanburg Herald-Journal
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1657, Spartanburg, S.C., 29304-1657
The Spartanburg Herald-Journal is a member of the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group



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