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School CP - June 1997
USA Today, 6 June 1997
More educators sparing the rod
More than 470,000 public-school children were targets of corporal punishment from teachers, principals, coaches or bus drivers in 1994, a recent government study shows.
That's down 15% from 1992, but critics say the number of students paddled, slapped or swatted is still too high.
"I will not be satisfied until it's zero," says psychologist Robert Fathman, president of the National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools, in Columbus, Ohio. He says some children are hit more than once and estimates that about 5,000 kids need medical care.
U.S. Department of Education statistics for the 1993-1994 school year, the latest year available, show that the use of corporal punishment on public-school children in grades kindergarten through 12 has declined steadily, with one-third the number of students hit in 1994 compared with 1984, when the total was 1,332,317.
Pressure from advocacy groups, fear of lawsuits and changing practices in child rearing are driving the change, says Fathman, who calls the practice barbaric.
But those who support corporal punishment say that when used wisely it's an effective means of discipline, which "in some public schools in this country has deteriorated to the point where students and teachers are endangered," says Alfred Sawyer, spokesman for Alabama Gov. Fob James. Shortly after James was elected in 1994, the state legislature passed a bill that protects teachers from being sued for administering corporal punishment.
Corporal punishment is illegal in every developed nation except the United States, Canada and one state in Australia, Fathman says.
Wind River News, Wyoming, 12 June 1997
Legislature ends session, millions in funding added
Wyoming lawmakers agreed on a bill during their special session last week that will make $50 million in additional funding available for state school districts.
According to District 33 State Representative Harry Tipton (R-Lander), who voted for the bill, each district will be allowed to levy an additional two mills and in turn receive a 50 percent match in funding from the state.
The bill will provide both civil and criminal immunity for teachers who choose to use corporal punishment on students when allowed by the school district.
According to Tipton, the bill allows each school district to establish a policy for corporal punishment providing defense if a teacher is charged with child abuse.
"I have no concept of why you would provide criminal immunity to teachers," said Case, who voted against the bill partly because of the handling of corporal punishment.
Log Cabin Democrat, Conway, Arkansas, 13 June 1997
No maltreatment in Guy paddlings, DHS finds
By Ray Sessions
GUY -- The state Department of Human Services found "no credible evidence of maltreatment" during its investigation of the paddling of two 15-year-old students, school Superintendent Donald Rowlett told school board members Thursday night.
A hearing had been conducted in May before the Guy-Perkins School District's Board of Education, in which the girls' grandfather asked the board to reevaluate the district's corporal punishment policy. The grandfather claimed that the girls were badly bruised and that a witness failed to stop the paddling when it became excessive.
At the hearing, Rowlett supported the teacher and administrator in question, saying that they followed the policy exactly as it is written and did nothing wrong. He was just as supportive at Thursday night's school board meeting.
"I could find no maltreatment in my own investigation of the incident," Rowlett said. "I would have been very disappointed if they (DHS officials) had concluded anything different."
After minimal discussion, the board decided that the corporal punishment policy will not be changed.
All board members were present.
Copyright 1997 The Log Cabin Democrat
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