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School CP - February 2013

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WCTV-TV, Tallahassee, Florida, 7 February 2013

Paddling in Schools Still Alive and Well in Georgia

By Eames Yates

A wooden paddleCorporal punishment is still alive and well in Georgia. In fact it's going on in a majority of the state's counties.

Wes Taylor, Lowndes County School Superintendent, states, "the reality is that for teaching and learning to occur there must be order."

But how? And at what cost? Despite the fact that it's still legal, corporal punishment, or paddling, in Valdosta Schools ended in 1996. More than a hundred out of the hundred and fifty nine counties in Georgia still use paddling as punishment for misbehaving in school. For those that have been on the wrong end of the wood, memories are still fresh.

Jennifer Steedley, Lowndes County Mother: "the teacher said if you don't remember to carry your zero you're going to get a swat. And I was so nervous about carrying that zero that I absolutely forgot. And right there in front of the class I got my swat. But I can promise you that I never forgot to carry that zero ever again."

No one incident led to the end of corporal punishment in Valdosta... So what did it? School officials say the times are a changing.

Wes Taylor, Lowndes County School Superintendent, adds, "I think also that we've become such a litigious society. That most school administrators that I know of have not used corporal punishment in public schools in many many years."

Reporter: "I mean they don't want to get sued?"

Taylor: "exactly."

Valdosta School Superintendent Bill Cason practiced paddling for 16 years as a principal in Georgia. He also thinks it stopped in Lowndes because schools wanted to avoid getting sued. But the experience of being the paddler revealed a different reason.

Bill Cason, Valdosta School Superintendent, stated, "we typically ended up paddling the same children over and over again. And almost to the point at times it seemed that some of the kids used it as a badge of honor. I'm tough, I can take whatever licks this principal or assistant principal gives me and go back into the classroom smiling."

During the 2010-2011 school year there was nearly twenty two thousand incidents of corporal punishment in schools across the state. They included paddling, spanking and hitting children.

Corporal punishment is also still legal in twenty two states, including Florida.

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Fayetteville Observer, North Carolina, 8 February 2013

North Carolina State Board of Education opposes use of corporal punishment in public schools

By Venita Jenkins
Staff writer


The State Board of Education passed a resolution Thursday opposing the use of corporal punishment in public schools.

The board's action would not affect local school boards' policies on paddling as a disciplinary method. State law gives local boards the authority to make those decisions, and a law would be required to impose a statewide ban.

The vote was intended to show the state board's stance on the issue, said a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

The resolution states that the use of corporal punishment has been criticized by child development experts and advocacy groups. It can "instill fear of physical pain in the victim, which replaces any meaningful understanding of the underlying punishment" and is harmful to students, the resolution says.

In the 2011-12 school year, 12 school systems allowed corporal punishment, and there were 404 instances reported statewide, according to a report released last month by the Department of Public Instruction. That is a decrease of 55 percent from the previous school year.

The most common reasons cited were disruptive and aggressive behavior, according to the report.

This year, the number of school systems that allow corporal punishment has dropped to nine.

Robeson and Bladen counties are the only systems in the Cape Fear region that use corporal punishment. In March, the Columbus County school board voted to eliminate paddling.

Robeson County, with 267 instances, had the highest number of corporal punishment reports in the state in the 2011-12 school year, according to the state. Bladen County had one case.

Mike Smith, chairman of the Robeson County school board indicated Thursday that corporal punishment would not necessarily stop in Robeson County despite the state's resolution.

"We appreciate the state board's position," said Smith. "Once it becomes law, we will abide by it. Until then, we will still enforce our policy."

Recent studies

Studies over the past two decades have shown that corporal punishment does not change student behavior or improve academic outcomes, said Tom Vitaglione, senior fellow with Action for Children North Carolina, a child advocacy group in Raleigh.

"We are pleased that the State Board of Education leaders have come to that conclusion," he said.

Rep. Marvin Lucas, a Democrat from Spring Lake and a member of the House Education Committee, said attempts to ban corporal punishment through legislation have not been successful in the past.

In 2011, state lawmakers amended the current law to require written permission from parents or guardians to allow educators to use corporal punishment on their children.

"Each General Assembly changes," Lucas said. "We have an enormous number of freshmen this year. I have not had an opportunity to pursue their sentiments. I am sure it will come up."

If the use of corporal punishment is not abused, it could be a good deterrent for bad behavior, said Lucas, a retired educator. But he said there are alternative measures for handling discipline problems.

"It appears to be antiquated in some circles." Lucas said. "With the additional counseling that we have available in schools now, corporal punishment probably is less effective than it used to be."

Gia Howell, whose children are in primary and middle schools in Lumberton, said she feels parents should be the disciplinarians, not school officials.

"To me, there are other ways of disciplining children at school," she said.

Nancy Locklear supports corporal punishment. Locklear is the mother of a sixth-grader at Union Elementary School in Rowland. She said she signed the form authorizing school officials to paddle her child.

"I agree with punishing children, as long as they don't abuse it," she said. "I think they should leave it in school."

Belinda Brewer, who also has children at Union Elementary, said in some instances, it is good to have corporal punishment in schools, as long as parents are aware of the policy.

"I am open to it as a form of discipline," she said. "If kids don't think there is any repercussion for their actions, it is just going to keep escalating."

Dr. Leontye Lewis, dean of the Fayetteville State University School of Education, supports the state board's position. She said some children act up in school because they are bored.

"Some teachers do not think about the students when they plan a lesson. They think about the content," she said. "If students are involved and engaged, it will keep them motivated and excited about learning. I believe there are many positive ways for children to adhere to the expectations in the classroom rather than the use of corporal punishment."

Copyright - The Fayetteville Observer, Fayetteville, N.C.

Corpun file 24355 at

CBS logo (WRAL-TV), Raleigh, North Carolina, 8 February 2013

Robeson County takes the lead in corporal punishment

By Bryan Mims

Lumberton, N.C. -- The State Board of Education formalized its stance this week against corporal punishment in schools, but won't make a difference in Robeson County.

Robeson County is among a dozen of the state's 115 school districts that still allow paddling as form of discipline. And among those dozen, Robeson County takes the lead.

There were 267 student spankings in the district in the last school year. That's far above second-place Graham County, which reported 43.

Dwayne Smith, chairman of the county's Board of Education policy committee, said the school has no plans to stop the practice. He said corporal punishment works because children who are spanked "very seldom come back."

"It's been effective in Robeson County, even back in the days when I went to school," Smith said. "It's almost like, 'Why fix something if it's not broke?'"

Robeson is a large, mostly poor county with 24,000 students in 42 schools. The district has forms for parents to give their written consent to allow educators to use corporal punishment on their children. Even with the consent form, administrators said, many principals call parents beforehand.

The paddlings seem to be on the decline, with only 46 so far this school year, Still, stories of the principal's paddle have an almost mythical quality.

"Principal tore me up one time. I'll never forget it," recalled Gloria Jacobs, a parent who has children at Tanglewood Elementary School in Lumberton.

Parent Isiah Hunt said he was on board with the idea of corporal punishment, saying it would "straighten out" a lot of kids.

But Kiara Johnson disagreed.

"It's not their job to hit the kids. It's their job to teach the kids and leave it up to the parents to do all that," she said.

The state board approved a resolution Thursday against corporal punishment, saying it can harm students physically, mentally and emotionally. The board did not ask the General Assembly to outlaw the practice, however.

Copyright 2013 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved.


Two-and-a-half-minute news report from WRAL-TV, Raleigh, NC (8 Feb 2013) of which the above text is a considerably abbreviated version. Parents in Robeson County (a large and poor district, we are told) give different views. One parent claims not to have been informed of the CP policy, though the district says all parents get a letter at the beginning of the year. The district school board chairman is interviewed and says that CP works well and will not be abolished unless and until the state outlaws it. However, figures are presented showing that Robeson County has 42 schools, so a couple of hundred paddlings in a year, though the highest number in the state, is not very significant. (It has subsequently fallen to zero.)


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The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, 13 February 2013, p.13A

Corporal punishment won't join cyberbullying measure

By Michael McNutt
Capitol Bureau


Press cutting

An effort to reinstate corporal punishment in public schools barely failed Tuesday.

The proposal was in an amendment to a bill that would add cyberbullying to Oklahoma's anti-bullying laws.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives Common Education Committee passed House Bill 1661. It now goes to the full House.

An amendment allowing corporal punishment in the classroom failed 8-8. The amendment, by Rep. Doug Cox, would have allowed any teacher in a school district to use corporal punishment if at the teacher's discretion it is needed "to maintain discipline and order in the classroom."

The amendment required the teacher to have parental permission.

In Oklahoma, corporal punishment is up to each district.

"An increasing number of school boards are outlawing corporal punishment, taking away the power of the teacher if the teacher sees fit to use corporal punishment as a tool to maintain proper decorum and discipline in the classroom that leads to a good learning environment," said Cox, R-Grove.

"Part of a school's job is to prepare kids for life. Part of being successful in life is to know that if you have negative behavior that there's going to be negative consequences."

Cox said he doesn't think in-school suspension is seen as punishment by students.

Cox isn't through seeking to reinstate corporal punishment in Oklahoma's public schools. "I'm going to try to get it in every education bill I can," he said.

Rep. Lee Denney, author of HB 1661, is making her second attempt in two years to get a cyberbullying bill passed. The House in 2011, after first approving it, defeated an amended version. Opponents said it was another mandate being placed on public schools and that parents and teachers can take of the problem.


blob NOTE BY C.F.:
The above report, especially its opening line, may give the incorrect impression that as of Feb 2013 CP was already outlawed in Oklahoma. This was not so. Some school districts had banned it, others not. What Rep. Doug Cox seems to have wanted to restore was the right for any teacher to inflict paddlings in the classroom, with parental permission, whether the local school board approves or not -- surely an idea that was unlikely to fly even in the most conservative of places.

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