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www.corpun.com   :  Archive   :  2007   :  US Schools Sep 2007

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UNITED STATES
School CP - September 2007



Corpun file 19596

Burlington Times-News, N. Carolina, 12 September 2007

Board decision near on spanking ban

By Mike Wilder
Times News

Members of the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education could vote as early as Sept. 24 on whether to ban spanking and paddling in the school system.

Superintendent Randy Bridges said this week the school system received 32 comments on the proposed change after asking for e-mailed comments through its Web site.

The school system asked for input after the board discussed Bridges' proposed ban on corporal punishment during its August meeting.

Most people who e-mailed comments about the proposal favored banning corporal punishment. Nineteen people who made comments appeared to be clearly in favor of the change, with 12 in favor of keeping corporal punishment as an option.

One parent said he'd be willing to spank his child in front of administrators but would want the option of an alternative punishment. Parents at the two schools where corporal punishment has been used in recent years have had a choice of other punishments, school system spokeswoman Libby Cheek said.

Some of the people offering comments identified themselves as parents. Others said they are school system employees.

The school system's principals, Bridges said during a work session on Monday, "don't really have to speak, because they've spoken."

"They don't use it," school board vice chairwoman Mary Alice Hinshaw said in response.

Cheek said Wednesday corporal punishment has been used in recent years at Altamahaw-Ossipee and E.M. Holt elementary schools.

During discussion of corporal punishment earlier this year, Altamahaw-Ossipee Elementary was mentioned as having recently used corporal punishment.

Cheek said Donna King, assistant principal at Altamahaw-Ossipee, reported corporal punishment was used nine times at her school in 2006-07 and less than that in 2005-06.

At E.M. Holt, Cheek said, principal Lynn Norris said corporal punishment was used three times last year "at the parents' request" and was used fewer than five times in 2005-06. Cheek said corporal punishment has been used at both schools as "a last resort."

The school system's policy requires that parents be notified before corporal punishment is used. At both Altamahaw-Ossipee and E.M. Holt, Cheek said, parents were not only notified but agreed to the use of corporal punishment and were given a choice of punishments for their children.

A PARENT of a student at Altamahaw-Ossipee was among people who e-mailed in support of keeping the current corporal punishment policy.

"I appreciate and respect the fact that I have a choice on how my child is punished," she wrote. "I believe that kids feel like they get the easy way out" when put in in-school suspension.

Parents, both at Altamahaw-Ossipee and elsewhere, offered mixed opinions on banning corporal punishment. Some of the people who wrote to support the ban said physical punishment sets a bad example for students.

"Kids need discipline, which means to teach, not to hit," one wrote.

Most people in an informal Times-News online poll this month were against banning corporal punishment.

The poll asked readers, "Should the Alamance-Burlington School System ban corporal punishment such as spanking or paddling?" Sixty-two percent said "no" and 38 percent said "yes."

Bridges briefly referred to the Times-News survey during the school board's work session.

An Elon University poll taken this spring found 54 percent of North Carolina residents surveyed supported corporal punishment in schools. Forty percent opposed it.

School board members haven't said a lot publicly about the proposed ban on corporal punishment. Hinshaw and Tom Manning, the board's chairman, both said last month that in the absence of strong opposition to the ban, they'd tend to go with Bridges' recommendation.

On a personal level, said board member Gayle Gunn, she's uncomfortable with the idea of spanking someone else's child. She said she's leaning toward supporting the proposed ban on corporal punishment.

Gunn, like Bridges, said she thinks the schools have enough other ways to punish students who need discipline.

School board member Steve Van Pelt said he's "still on the fence post" about whether to support the proposed change.

Based on the comments he's read and heard, Van Pelt said, people on the whole may not feel as intensely about the issue as he had thought they would.

Van Pelt, a former principal and assistant principal, said teachers or other school employees sometimes have to restrain students who are a threat to students, teachers or themselves. He noted both the current and proposed policy, as well as state law, allow for that.



blob Follow-up: 24 September 2007 - Board bans corporal punishment




Corpun file 19593

abc logo

wkrn.com (WKRN-TV), Nashville, Tennessee, 14 September 2007

Perry Co. Paddling Incident Concerns Parents

Linden Middle SchoolA handful of Perry County parents plan on filing a police report against employees at their children's school.

Close to a dozen kids at Linden Middle School in Perry County were disciplined by the principal who paddled them.

Parents are now claiming the principal's act was abusive.

Linden Middle School Principal Hazel Shaw admits she paddled about a dozen sixth graders but also said the parents all signed a consent sheet inside a school handbook permitting her to do so.

She said, "I want them to get the best education possible and I felt that we were trying to get to do that. It may not be always what everybody expects but we want them to succeed and they have to follow the rules."

One parent, however, said she wrote on the bottom line that she must be contacted first.  She said she wasn't and the paddling got way out of hand, leaving several children severely bruised and one child with a fractured knuckle.

The parent, along with several others, said they plan on filing a police report.

Copyright 2007 by WKRN Nashville Tennessee. All Rights Reserved.



blob RELATED VIDEO CLIP (1 min 10 secs) from WRKN Nashville, 14 September 2007.

TV news report of which the above item is a text version. Interview with middle school principal who administered the mass paddling. She says the parents had all signed the form.


HERE IS THE CLIP:

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




Corpun file 19612

Palatka Daily News, Florida, 16 September 2007

Public district limits spanking

By Ron Bartlett

Corporal punishment is allowed in Putnam County public schools, but there are strict guidelines.

The issue has taken on a higher profile in the wake of a family's complaints about the spanking of a 3-year-old girl at Peniel Baptist Academy, a private Christian school near Palatka.

According to the Putnam County School District's Student Code of Conduct, corporal punishment -- including spanking with a paddle -- is allowed, but "will only be used with prior consent of the parent/guardian and prior to each action."

Joe Warren, director of student services, says if corporal punishment is to be used, he wants to holds his deans to an even higher standard than that mandated by the Code of Conduct.

"I talked to my deans and I'm going to request that they get parental permission in writing if they choose to use corporal punishment," he said Friday. "I would prefer a notarized statement. It doesn't have to be, but I would feel better if it was."

Warren said if paddling is administered, one other adult must also be present. The guide adds that the adult witness must also be advised of the reason for the punishment in the presence of the student.

The guide limits corporal punishment for primary and intermediate students to five strokes using one hand, rising to a maximum of seven strokes, still with one hand, for middle and high school students. The paddle is limited to a length of two feet, with no holes or sharp edges, the code said.

The mother of 3-year-old Tiana Harris, a pre-K student, brought charges last week against Peniel Baptist Academy and its principal Bonnell Jenkins. In a report from the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, she alleges Jenkins paddled Tiana without her consent or knowledge as punishment for her continued crying and refusal to stand in a corner.

Charges against Jenkins for simple battery have been forwarded to the State Attorney's Office for their review and Tiana has been removed by her mother from the school.

According to Peniel's student handbook, corporal punishment is only allowed on students between kindergarten and 12th grade, not pre-K, and only with parental permission.

As a religious exempt facility, Peniel Academy is not licensed by DCF or overseen by the school board, but administered through the Florida Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Its executive director, Howard Burke, said their schools do not prohibit corporal punishment, but strongly recommend against it.




Corpun file 19729

Sequoyah County Times, Oklahoma, 21 September 2007

When spanking becomes abuse

By Monica Keen
Staff Writer

(extracts)

To spank or not to spank? That is the question some parents are asking themselves after a county man was recently charged with child abuse for a belt spanking that allegedly crossed the line into abuse.

Kyle Waters, Sequoyah County assistant district attorney, said while parents have the right to spank their child, there is a line drawn when a spanking becomes excessive.

[...]

SCHOOLS

In schools, spanking is not an option, but corporal punishment is. Of three schools that Your TIMES polled, two of them still administer corporal punishment, which is allowed according to state law.

But ultimately those same schools give the parents the power to decide how they want their child punished.

One school that doesn't administer corporal punishment is Sallisaw School.

Sallisaw School Superintendent Ron Wyrick said according to the law, schools have the authority to paddle a child. He said that schools can act "in loco parentis," meaning when the child is at the school, the school is the parent.

Wyrick said several years ago Sandy Garrett, state superintendent of public instruction, put a moratorium on corporal punishment.

"That's when we stopped doing it," Wyrick said.

Later schools were given back the right to choose what punishment to administer.

He pointed out that Sallisaw School policy does allow corporal punishment, but the school does not exercise that policy.

"We have had parents come to the school and paddle their children," Wyrick said, adding that situation doesn't happen often.

He said the parent has a right to paddle their child, but the school doesn't paddle students.

He pointed to the county man who was charged with abuse for using a belt on his child. "We don't want any employees in that position."

Instead of corporal punishment, the school utilizes detention and in-school and out-of-school suspension to punish students. In the elementary school, they have a positive action room that students may spend 30 minutes to half a day in. "It's like a time-out," Wyrick said.

While Sallisaw has chosen to stop paddling students, Roland School Superintendent Randy Wood said Roland School still administers corporal punishment. "It is a school policy."

But Roland school officials give parents an option. Parents can sign a form and the student can take an alternative type of punishment, such as suspension.

"We do not use corporal punishment on any student whose parent does not agree with it," Wood said.

Depending on the degree of the offense, many times if a student is going to face three swats, they would get the option of three days suspension. In the past, the school has also offered detention as an alternative. The paddlings at Roland are given by the principal of each building, with a teacher witness.

Wood emphasized that the school asks the parents what to do, seeking their permission.

"If a parent wants us to paddle, yes we will," he said. If parents don't, the parents are left to handle the disciplining.

Excluding corporal punishment, the school is still the parent in their absence. "In place of the parent, we have the responsibility to care for and protect our kids," Wood said.

Vian School also utilizes the same type of system as Roland when it comes to corporal punishment.

Superintendent Lawrence Barnes said the school still allows paddling, with a parent's permission. He noted that most schools have gone to that practice.

If a parent does not want their child paddled, there are alternative punishments available, including in-school and out-of-school suspension and Saturday school. In the elementary school, students face time-outs or being held from participating in recess, which Barnes noted is worse to some children than a paddling.

"Usually the threat of paddling is enough," Barnes said.

He added that some parents want their children paddled. "Usually we rely on the parent to let us know what their wishes are."

He pointed out that what works for one child may not work for another, as far as discipline.

"It's still effective," Barnes said of corporal punishment.




Corpun file 19638

abc logo

wzzm13.com (WZZM-TV), Grand Rapids, Michigan, 23 September 2007

Should Corporal Punishment be Brought Back?

By Sarah Sell

A Kent County Commissioner wants corporal punishment brought back to our public schools. It was banned in Michigan in 1989.

Commissioner Paul Mayhue says he started thinking about the controversial issue when he heard about a Michigan lawmaker who proposed a bill that would allow teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom.

Mayhue says teachers don't need to be armed with guns. What they do need to be able to do is punish students who act up. Mayhue recommends bringing back the wooden paddle. "Cause the paddling was not just a little ping-ping on the butt, but it was embarrassing," says Commissioner Mayhue.

Commissioner Mayhue says he grew up during a time when corporal punishment was expected in school. "That type of discipline helped us keep our behavior in check," he says.

The law defines corporal punishment as the deliberate infliction of pain by hitting, spanking or paddling as a means of discipline. It's still used in 20 states.

Gerald Richardson remembers his teacher using it at his school.

"He'd give you a warning to cut it out," Richardson says. "If not, he'd take you in front of the class, bend you over and he had a stick with tape on it. He would give you a couple of swats and you knew not to do it again."

Mayhue says, "Some psychologists got together and said, hey, you can't do it that way. You have to send them to a "time out" room and leave them there."

Those psychologists and others who are against corporal punishment say it's an ineffective way of disciplining all ages of children. They say it produces anger, resentment and often causes children to imitate what adults are doing.

Some parents who spoke to WZZM 13 News say they are against corporal punishment specifically at school. They say they are not comfortable with letting someone else discipline their child. Others say children should not be spanked at all

Celeste Richardson, 10, says she responds best to a time out, "But, other kids I've seen, they go to detention and they just do it again and again. It doesn't usually work for some people."

As for Commissioner Mayhue, he knows he has no power to change Michigan law. What he does hope is that this spurs discussion on the issue. He says something needs to be done. "Right now, people are out of control. Totally out of control."

Copyright © 2006 WZZM 13 ABC




Corpun file 19660

Burlington Times-News, North Carolina, 24 September 2007

Board bans corporal punishment

By Mike Wilder
Times-News

Put away the paddles: There will be no more corporal punishment in local public schools.

Members of the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education on Monday night approved Superintendent Randy Bridges' proposal to ban corporal punishment. Of the members who were present, the vote was unanimous. Board member Gayle Gunn was out of the country.

No one attended the meeting to offer an opinion for or against the proposal. But Bridges said the school system received 39 e-mails since the board discussed the ban last month. Of those, he said, 24 people favored the ban and 15 wanted to keep corporal punishment as an option.

An Elon University poll taken this spring and a non-scientific Times-News poll taken in early September both found majorities favoring corporal punishment as an option in schools.

Bridges reiterated his position that there are other ways to discipline students. He noted that only two of the system's schools have used corporal punishment in recent years, calling that "the clearest evidence" other punishments are sufficient. At both of those schools, Altamahaw-Ossipee Elementary and E.M. Holt Elementary, parents were allowed to choose another option if they didn't want their child spanked.

Mary Alice Hinshaw, the board's vice chairwoman, said she initially thought "If it's not broken, why fiddle with it," when the board was asked to consider the ban. She said the procedure of giving people a month to comment between a proposal's introduction at one board meeting and the vote at the next meeting worked well in this case.

Board member Steve Van Pelt had earlier described himself as undecided, but said Monday night he'd come to agree with Bridges.

"I believe that children from time to time may need to be spanked, but not in the schools," he said. Van Pelt said spanking as a punishment could contradict the schools' anti-bullying policy and other efforts.

Tom Manning, the board's chairman, noted the policy allows use of reasonable force to restrain students when necessary.




Corpun file 19713

NBC logo

nbc5i.com (KXAS-TV), Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, 25 September 2007

Parents Upset After Coach Allegedly Bruises Child

Austin's bruised leg
WEATHERFORD, Texas -- The parents of a young football player said they are outraged over the punishment he received for supposedly wearing the wrong shorts during practice.

Austin Carpenter, 12, said his football coach paddled him so hard, it left a big bruise on the back of his leg.

"It stung pretty bad," Austin said. "It kind of makes me sad that a coach would do that."

Brad Carpenter, Austin's dad, held up a photo showing the bruise.

"I'm not allowed to leave a mark like that on my son," he said.

Austin's parents said they are angry that no one from the school ever called them, and said it was done in front of other students, who also got paddled.

"This one was done more like a public beating, is the way I see it," said Carpenter.

The Carpenters said they also fault the coach's reason: that Austin was wearing shorts that weren't assigned to him.

"Just 'cause I had the wrong shorts on. And actually I had the right ones on," Austin said. "He just didn't bother to look at the right side. That makes it even more ridiculous why he did it."

In Texas, some school districts forbid paddling altogether, and some districts permit it, with a parent's permission. Others districts like Springtown allow paddling even without parental permission.

Springtown Police Chief Mark Krey said no laws were broken.

"Not only do parents have a right to paddle their children, so do schools," said Krey. "Yes, the young man is bruised, but it is not of such a nature that I believe criminal charges would be viable."

Austin's parents said they will pursue the issue with the Springtown school board.

"I believe there are necessary times for corporal punishment," Carpenter said. "But under the right circumstances and done the right way."

Springtown's superintendent said Austin's parents' complaints are under review.

Copyright 2007 by nbc5i.com. All rights reserved.



blob RELATED VIDEO CLIP (1 min 46 secs) from NBC5 (KXAS), Fort Worth, 25 September 2007.

TV news report of which the above item is a text version. Interviews with the paddled boy, and also his father, who is not opposed to CP but thinks this punishment was unreasonable. However, the local police chief also speaks, pointing out that the school was within its rights and that the bruise was not such as to justify criminal charges.


HERE IS THE CLIP:

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



Corpun file 19662

Weatherford Democrat, Texas, 27 September 2007

School paddling raises concerns over corporal punishment

By Danie M. Huffman

Austin Carpenter, 12, joined football because he liked the sport. His views have been altered however, after the alleged paddling his coach gave him when he supposedly wore the wrong shorts to practice.

Austin's father, Brad Carpenter, said the Springtown Middle School student was paddled so hard, that a large bruise was left on the back of his right thigh.

His son told him during the first week of school, the coach told the team to follow directions because he was a "mean son-of-a-b****."

The paddling incident occurred Sept. 7. The following day, Austin said a teammate was paddled as a disciplinary action.

According to Brad Carpenter, the very next week the coach checked each team member's shorts to make sure the number marked on the tag matched their locker number.

He said Austin's shorts had #42 written on the tag with a line crossing it out. The #44 was written just above the other number. He added the school recycles the shorts from year-to-year, saving them for future students.

Carpenter also said the coach did not check the opposite side of the tag, which did have the #88, Austin's number, written on it.

Carpenter said his son was confused as to why the coach pulled him aside with nine other boys.

Shelly Carpenter, Austin's mother, said the remainder of the team was excused and all 10 boys in Austin's group got into trouble, but not all of the boys received corporal punishment as her son did.

"He missed his bottom," Brad Carpenter said about the large bruise on his son's thigh. "The number was on the tag, the coach just didn't see. He told the kids 'when your shorts don't match, I'm assuming you're stealing.'"

In a meeting with the principal and three coaches, Carpenter was told the students were punished because they couldn't keep up with their shorts.

"My son didn't have the wrong shorts," he said. "Even if he did have the wrong shorts, that wouldn't be a paddling offense. The last one you would want to put a paddle in their hand is a mad coach."

Carpenter added if the coach had a disciplinary problem with Austin, he should have sent him to the principal, who would be disengaged from the problem.

"I've got no problem with paddling if it's the right situation and the right circumstances, Carpenter said. "My son wasn't the first one to be paddled and he wasn't the last one. To me, that's excessive use of a paddle. I've been a little league baseball assistant coach for 10 years, and I've never had to get physical with any kids in the dugout."

He claims his son has had no other disciplinary problems prior to the incident. "He attends some advanced placement classes. He's on the student council, in the puppet ministry and band," he said. "He's not a trouble child."

Carpenter admits Austin was paddled two years ago as a disciplinary action and he was not against it. "I do believe in corporal punishment by the right people done in the right way for the right reasons," he said. "We tried three times handling this locally with the coaches and principal. They didn't understand."

Brad Carpenter said the coach who paddled Austin did apologize a week after the incident, but not until the Carpenters requested he do so. "The school had two choices," Carpenter said. "They could have gathered to protect my son and instead they chose to gather around the coaches and protect them."

Sept. 11, Austin's parents met with the coaches and the Springtown Middle School principal. He said the matter was not resolved in that meeting. The Carpenters decided to take the issue before the Springtown ISD school board at the regular scheduled meeting Sept. 24.

During that meeting, Brad Carpenter was told he would need to bring it up in a closed session. Although he e-mailed a request to speak publicly at the meeting during the open forum, he said he was refused the right. "They said if you show us any pictures, we're not going to take action on this," Carpenter said speaking of what board members told him. "They said they couldn't discuss it because the coaches were not there with representation.

The next day, news media began contacting the Carpenters about the story. "This wasn't something we threw in front of the media for personal gain, all we wanted was to get the issue brought to the board's attention," Carpenter said. "We never contacted any media outlet."

Springtown Police Chief Mark Krey said in a television broadcast interview that although Austin was bruised, the coach would not have criminal charges brought against him because it was not severe enough. Krey could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Springtown ISD Superintendent Lonnie Seipp said he would not release the coach's name. "We've got a parent complaint," Seipp said. "We just need time to do our job and get the issue resolved. Our policies clearly provide the procedures to address any issues that come up in front of us. We're in the middle of working with this one. I'm really kind of happy to see that the system works. We have corporal punishment. We use a variety of techniques. It's certainly way on down the list of things we try to use. Are we using it every day? I don't think so. Compared to when I was in school, we use it rarely."

Seipp said he could not discuss Austin's prior behavior, but was not aware of him having a prior uniform problem. "Student records are protected information," he said.

Carpenter said the principal did take action by telling the coaches they may no longer administer corporal punishment, but to refer matters to office staff.

"We didn't want any more hasty paddlings by coaches," Carpenter said. "We didn't want any more kids getting bruised. We wanted the coaches to rethink why they took these jobs in the first place. We wanted to tell the board our story -- what happened. Not the watered-down version. That was it. That was all we wanted to do."

A Springtown ISD press release stated in the student code of conduct, parents are not required to be notified in cases similar to Austin's. "Typically corporal punishment is administered after the parents have been contacted," the release stated. "Currently policy allows parents to submit requests that their child not receive corporal punishment. Those requests are filed in the campus administrative offices."

Seipp said in the release that he was "proud that the system worked in this particular case. The parents raised an issue, the principal involved heard the issue and then took the appropriate actions to address the issue...This is not the first issue or complaint, nor will it be the last."

Austin no longer plays for the school's football team. His father said in a news broadcast partly because of this and partly because he is involved in other activities.

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