Minneapolis Star and Tribune, Minnesota, 20 August 1986
School Board votes to end policy allowing corporal punishment
Minneapolis public school principals may no longer spank students, even when parents say it's OK.
The school board Tuesday narrowly killed a 10-year formal policy that allowed principals to mete out corporal punishment with parental permission.
"If we hurry we can get into the 20th century before it's over," said board member David Tilsen, who pushed for abolishing the policy.
The vote followed a half-hour debate among board members and pleas from a former teacher who likened corporal punishment to child abuse.
"I guess if that's the way the board decides we're going to do business, then that's the way we'll do business," said Roger Olson, principal at Lincoln Fundamentals School.
Olson, a 30-year employee of the school district, said he has used a ping-pong paddle two or three times a year to swat students on the buttocks.
Said Tilsen: "I wish we were dealing with graver issues. But I feel strongly about it. The argument that it's OK to leave (as a policy) because it doesn't happen very often is beside the point. The issue is whether it's appropriate for our employees to hit students. In 1986 we have better ways to educate our students than to strike them or threaten to strike them."
Claudia Hexter, a former private school teacher, criticized the policy as encouraging violence. "Since the Minneapolis public schools are in the process of educating children about child abuse, it seems counterproductive to tell them they can be safe in home and not in schools," she said.
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