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St Joseph News-Press, Missouri, 1 November 2008
Policy limits corporal punishment to last resort
By Alonzo Weston
When Don Lentz was a school principal, he didn't believe in swatting kids on the hands for misbehavior. He preferred the backside.
"If I slap a kid's hand and send him back to class, that hand's going to hurt and he can't write," Mr. Lentz said. "I used a paddle because I figured they could at least stand and listen and write."
As a high school teacher for 20 years and middle school principal for 13 years, Mr. Lentz said he's only paddled two students. That was only as a last resort. And it worked.
"The few children I paddled I felt it was an extreme measure," he said. "They never came back to the office and they were never a discipline problem for me again so I think there's some merit to it."
The general rule was then like it is now. The St. Joseph School District policy on corporal punishment is that it only be used in extreme measures.
School board policy states that: "Corporal punishment as a measure of correction is permitted. It shall be used only when all other reasonable means have failed, and then only in reasonable form and with the authorization of the principal. If found necessary, it should be administered, preferably by the principal or principal's designee, in the presence of the teacher. It should never be inflicted in the presence of the student's class or without an adult witness. Principals should make every effort to inform parents when corporal punishment has been administered. A complete report of each case must be filed in the Principal's Office.
Corporal punishment shall be administered preferably by swatting the buttocks with a paddle, or swatting the hands is also acceptable."
But the policy also has a provision for self defense. A teacher may use reasonable force against a student for the protection of person and property.
Dr. Jaime Dial, assistant director of secondary education for the district, said she can't remember the last time a student got a paddling for misbehavior in the St. Joseph school system.
"I think we have much more successful means in dealing with student misconduct than corporal punishment," she said.
She listed some of those measures as: detention, in school and out of school suspensions and conferences with parents and school counselors.
A recent CNN.com article cited a report from the Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union that said more than 200,000 children were spanked or paddled in U.S. schools during the past school year.
The highest percentage of students receiving corporal punishment was in Mississippi, with 7.5 percent of students. The highest number was 48,197 students in Texas.
According to the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, as cited in the study, corporal punishment in schools is legal in 21 U.S. states. It's used more frequently in Missouri, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida.
"Every public school needs effective methods of discipline, but beating kids teaches violence, and it doesn't stop bad behavior," said Alice Farmer, author of a joint report from the article. "It fails to deter future misbehavior and at times even provokes it."
Mr. Lentz said he believes in paddling to some extent, but not beating a child. That's a different matter. It ultimately comes down to gaining respect, he said.
"You have to earn respect, you can't command it from kids," Mr. Lentz said.
kristv.com (KRIS-TV), Corpus Christi, Texas, 22 November 2008
Boy Allegedly Beaten With Paddle By Assistant Principal
Reporter: Thomas Piland
REFUGIO -- The mother of a fourth grader in Refugio is claiming her son was the victim of abuse.
A mother has said what was supposed to be a paddling at her son's school got out of hand and left her son severely beaten by a school administrator.
Corina Gonzalez admitted her ten-year-old son Andy Garcia got into a shoving match at school. She also said she gave a verbal OK for Assistant Principal Joe Rios to use corporal punishment on her son. However, she added that the punishment was more like a beating.
On Monday, Garcia got into a fight at Refugio Elementary School, but his mother argued that the markings left on his body were not from the fight. She is claiming the welts on him were left by Rios.
"He leaned me up against the chair and I got scared. I turned around and I saw the paddle over his shoulder and he swung," Garcia said.
The fourth grader said an assistant principal spanked him several times with a wooden paddle.
"He swung real hard and I felt a little sting," Garcia added.
The boy also claimed Rios hit him three times with the paddle.
"He got beaten because of me," Gonzalez said. "I consented it over the phone for one lick."
Gonzalez opted for corporal punishment because she did not want her son removed from school, but she was shocked to see the bruises on Garcia's body.
"I called the police immediately and said, 'look, my son got beat at school. He was supposed to get disciplined. Get a lick. It looks like he got abused. He did not get disciplined'," Gonzalez stated.
A doctor said there are no broken bones, but on Friday, she said her son was still in paid. Now, she wants to know why her son came home from school with welts and bruises.
"He needs to be punished for what he did to my son," Gonzalez said.
Kris 6 News' calls to Refugio ISD were not returned. CPS said there is an open investigation at Refugio Elementary, but they would not say if it was regarding the incident.
All content © Copyright 2002 -- 2008 WorldNow and KRIS. All Rights Reserved.
RELATED VIDEO CLIP
News report (22 Nov 2008) from KRIS-TV 6 News, of which the above is an abbreviated text version. The boy and the mother are interviewed. Some might think her case is rather undermined when her son says that during his paddling he "felt a little sting": if that was all he felt, how can it have been the severe beating that she claims? But as so often with this sort of case, the TV coverage seems to take the parents' side against the school.
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 for private, non-profit, historical research and education purposes only. It must not be redistributed or republished in any commercial context.
kten.com (KTEN-TV), Ada, Oklahoma, 28 November 2008
Pontotoc County Mother Says Her Son Was Paddled Too Hard
An 8th grader in Pontotoc County is paddled in school and his mother is now pressing charges. KTEN's Meredith Saldana has more.
She did say it was O. K. for him to get paddled when he's not doing what he's supposed to be doing.
In fact, he's been paddled once already this year but she's upset because she says Tuesday he was paddled 3 times and he still has bruises to prove it.
The alleged incident happened at McLish Middle School by Principal Jack Wofford.
We were shown pictures Thursday of the bruises but because of the area that is bruised we decided not to show our viewers.
The 13-year-old's mother, Theressa Hollopeter, says she's not making excuses for her son and she does believe in punishment for wrong doings but this was too far.
"I'm mortified. School is supposed to be a safe place for our children to go you know and I initiated swats not a beating and he took a beating."
Hollopeter pulled her son from the school and says he will start at a different school after the Thanksgiving holiday.
She says the principal came into her work Tuesday afternoon and said "I think I got him good enough this time that I shouldn't have to do it again but if I do it'll be worse."
Hollopeter showed the pictures to DHS and says DHS said if a family member caused those bruises the child would be in protective state custody.
Mr. Wofford refused to comment on the incident to KTEN saying his lawyers advised him not to talk to the media.
The Pontotoc County District Attorney's Office has received the reports and is currently reviewing them.
His mother tells me she is set to meet with the district attorney at 8 AM Friday morning.
All content © Copyright 2000-2006, WorldNow and KTEN. All Rights Reserved.
The Augusta Chronicle, Georgia, 29 November 2008
School records show paddling cases
Reports show 9 incidents during last school year
By Greg Gelpi
Richmond County schoolchildren were paddled last year, but top school officials were unaware that corporal punishment is still practiced.
Four schools reported administering corporal punishment on nine occasions, according to The Augusta Chronicle's analysis of state discipline records. Schools self-report the incidents to the Georgia Department of Education as part of their annual discipline reports. But neither Superintendent Dana Bedden nor Executive Director James Thompson, who is responsible for discipline, is aware of any paddling last school year.
Both said they would look into the incidents.
Dr. Bedden said the reports of paddling could be simple mistakes by whoever entered the data, accidentally entering the number for corporal punishment rather than another discipline action.
However, two of the schools that reported paddling students in 2007-08 also reported paddling in 2006-07, The Chronicle found. Butler and Glenn Hills high schools administered corporal punishment in both years. Tubman and Glenn Hills middle schools also administered it last year.
Dr. Bedden said he finds it hard to believe that any of these schools actually paddled students.
The Richmond County Board of Education adopted a policy for corporal punishment in 1977 and revised it most recently in 1990. It outlines when and how corporal punishment is to be administered, requiring only authorized employees to administer it with a witness present. Permission first must be obtained from parents, and documentation must be kept stating the reason for the punishment and who was present.
CORPORAL PUNISHMENT INCIDENTS BY THE NUMBERS
The number of schoolchildren paddled in Richmond County increased last school year, Georgia Department of Education data show.
2006-07 INCIDENTS: 4
Butler High School: 2
Glenn Hills High School: 2
2007-08 INCIDENTS: 9
Butler High School: 1
Glenn Hills High School: 4
Glenn Hills Middle School: 3
Tubman Middle School 1
Here are the 10 Georgia schools with the most incidents of corporal punishment for the 2007-08 school year:
Source: The Augusta Chronicle's analysis of Georgia Department of Education data
Chicago Sun-Times, 29 November 2008
Paddling probe widens
CPS: Coaches accused of hitting student athletes
By Maudlyne Ihejirika
The Chicago Public Schools' ongoing investigation into alleged paddling of student athletes by high school coaches has widened to include a fifth school, while several coaches have been suspended or had their jobs placed in limbo.
The most recent allegations involve paddling of football team members by a football coach at Harlan High, 9652 S. Michigan.
"Football season is over, so he is not currently coaching," CPS spokesman Mike Vaughn said this week.
High schools previously under investigation included Morgan Park, Marshall, Phillips and Simeon.
On Nov. 10, boys basketball coach Mandel Oliver at Morgan Park, 1744 W. Pryor, was suspended without pay for allegedly paddling a varsity player last school year.
At Marshall, 3250 W. Adams, basketball coach Courtney Hargrays' position, temporarily closed last spring under budget constraints, is in limbo as CPS probes alleged paddling of his players, also last year.
At Phillips, 244 E. Pershing, paddling allegations are against security personnel.
The investigations were triggered earlier this year after paddling of team members by Simeon's volleyball coach came to light. The coach resigned, and students at other schools came forward.
Corporal punishment has been illegal here since 1994.
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