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School CP - February 2014

Corpun file 25164 at


The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi, 6 February 2014

Paddling at Flora school leads to abuse accusation

Tri County Academy

Charges were filed against the headmaster of Tri County Academy in Flora after the paddling of a student, WLBT reported.

Tiffany Cox said her son's buttocks was [sic] red and blistered allegedly after corporal punishment by headmaster Mark Johnson.

Cox said her 12-year-old son was not guilty of any infractions but reported one.

Cox said Johnson disciplined her son after a stall door was broken in the bathroom. The sixth grader said he told the school secretary that he was pushed into the bathroom.


"If anyone thinks that what he did to my child is right, it's not. He left bruises," said Cox. "He left an abrasion on my child. He hit him so hard it broke my child's skin on his rear end."

When asked if he injured the student, Johnson said he could not comment as result of charges being filed.

Cox said her son is afraid of the headmaster and she wants Johnson reprimanded and removed.

"He basically told me that he paddles all children that way," said Cox. "He leaves marks on all children and stated that no parents had complained yet. I was his first complaint, which I do not believe."

Flora Police Chief Dewayne Moak confirmed that a complaint had been filed and the incident is being investigated.

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved.


Two-minute news segment from local TV station WLBT3 (6 Feb 2014) with more detail on the above story. The complaining mother speaks to the camera, and a photograph of the slight, transient bruising is shown. She asserts very confidently that the presence of bruises means that child abuse has occurred, but that is not what Mississippi law says, and the journalist ought to have corrected her. Also missing from this whole account is the fact that the school concerned is a private one, so it can implement whatever policy it likes, and if parents don't approve of paddling they should not have enrolled their child there. That is how freedom of choice in the private sector is supposed to work.


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.

blob Follow-up: 12 February 2014 - A closer look at corporal punishment and Mississippi law

Corpun file 25170 at

NBC logo (KJRH-TV), Tulsa, Oklahoma, 9 February 2014

Corporal punishment controversy: parents, administrators divided on whether schools should allow it

By Steven Romo


TULSA -- Some students in Green Country are still getting paddled at school. Thirty-one states have banned corporal punishment in schools, but Oklahoma is not one of them.

It has become a controversial topic and many parents disagree on local districts' policies on paddling.

You can still find a paddle at the principal's office at Berryhill High School, but it's been a while since it was regularly used.

Berryhill is one of the districts in Oklahoma with a policy that does allow corporal punishment. But superintendent Mike Campbell says he has asked principals to hold off on picking up the paddle. It is the parents who sometimes request paddling as an option.

"I think corporal punishment probably has its place with some students, some students it doesn't," Campbell said.

Until just a few years ago, Owasso schools also allowed paddling, but assistant superintendent David Hall agrees the liability the districts face made them reconsider too.

"Throw in the fact that if they request that you give swats, you give swats to someone and then if they happen to have a bruise show up, they turn around and threaten to sue you," Hall said.

This topic hit a nerve on our KJRH Facebook page. Our post got hundreds of responses in just a couple hours and most people responding are strongly in favor of corporal punishment. A few people commented saying spanking children has been shown to hurt their social development and self-esteem.

But most people commenting seemed to agree with Troy Morris. The Sapulpa father says he was paddled in school and thinks Oklahoma needs to keep the option.

"If I got it at school, I got it at home," Morris said.

Many individual districts are banning the paddle even if the state does not.

Tulsa, Broken Arrow, and Bixby Public Schools also no longer allow it, and even in Berryhill administrators say times are changing.

"You know, I just don't think it's worth an administrator ruining a career," Campbell said.

The latest estimate from U.S. Department of Education found from 2002 to 2010 about 9,070 kids statewide got some type of corporal punishment. That's less than 1.5 percent of the total number of students. And those numbers are expected to drop once new data is [sic] calculated.

So how is the trend affecting behavior?

"I have not heard one principal say that they wish it was still available," said Hall regarding Owasso schools.

"Our suspensions are down this year over what they've been the past 10 years," Campbell said of Berryhill schools.

As the Berryhill paddles sit gathering dust, many Oklahomans remain divided on the impact their use has on students.

"It is old-fashioned; seems to work. Schools want to use it, I think it is something in the arsenal that should be used," Morris said.

The American Psychological Association has adopted a resolution urging schools to never use corporal punishment.

Copyright 2014 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 25176 at

NBC logo (WLBT-TV), Jackson, Mississippi, 12 February 2014

A closer look at corporal punishment and Mississippi law

By Annette Peagler

Headmaster Johnson

FLORA, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

In the wake of the arrest of Tri County Academy Headmaster, Mark Johnson, we are taking a closer look into what Mississippi law says about corporal punishment and what's allowed in a classroom.

The corporal punishment debate came to light in the metro after the case of Tiffany Cox's son, who was paddled by Johnson for alleged misconduct at Tri County Academy. The Flora Police Department charged Johnson with simple assault for the incident.

At the academy, which is a private school, corporal punishment is allowed, but Madison County's District Attorney Michael Guest says this incident is different.

"The bodily injury that was inflicted in the bruising and lacerations and swellings and things of that nature would arise to the point where criminal charges should be filed," said Guest.

Mississippi Code section 97-5-39 explains how and when corporal punishment can be abused according to state law.

"Serious bodily injury had been defined by our legislature as to include permanent disfigurement, internal bleeding, fracturing of bones, permanent scarring or disfiguring," said Guest. "So clearly even though the injuries were severe they did not arise to the level as serious bodily injury."

However, the injuries were enough to file a misdemeanor charge.

This isn't the first time the corporal punishment debate came to light in the metro. You may remember back in 2010, when former Murrah coach, Marlon Dorsey made national news for whipping his players. He was eventually removed.

The Mississippi Department of Education states it is ultimately up to the district on whether or not to enforce corporal punishment in the classroom.

Johnson's case is being tried in Flora Municipal Court. If he is convicted he can face up to a $500 fine or six months in jail.

Copyright 2014 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.


Two-minute news segment from local TV station WLBT Jackson (13 Feb 2014) of which the above report is an abbreviated version. The District Attorney's view seems highly questionable, given that various courts have decided that incidental bruising does not constitute injury.


This video clip is not currently available.

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.

blob Follow-up: 24 June 2014 - Judge dismisses charges in school paddling case (with video clip)

Corpun file 25195 at

The Topeka Capital-Journal, Kansas, 18 February 2014

Proposed bill would allow teachers to spank children up to 10 times with hand

Current Kansas law allows spanking that doesn't leave marks

By Celia Llopis-Jepsen


A bill in the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice would allow parents to spank their children to the point of bruising and give teachers permission to do so as well.

House Bill 2699, which was introduced by Rep. Gail Finney, exempts corporal punishment by a parent from the definitions of child abuse, endangering a child, battery and domestic battery.

Corporal punishment is defined under the bill as using one's palm to strike the clothed buttocks of child up to 10 times and using reasonable physical force to restrain the child. The bill acknowledges that this may lead to bruising.

McPherson deputy county attorney Britt Colle, who authored the bill, said media reports haven't accurately depicted the purpose of the legislation.

"I think they're looking at the wrong thing here," Colle said. "This is really an issue of clarifying what the law is, and by that, it also clarifies what's against the law."

Colle said he has worked as a lawyer for more than 20 years and handled many cases that involved parents hitting children. The bill, he said, aims to set a clear standard for police, prosecutors, parents and judges to follow in terms of what is acceptable discipline. The bill draws the line at spanking a clothed child, while excluding anything that involves hitting the child elsewhere on his or her body, using a fist against a child, a belt, or other object, Colle said.

"For years, law enforcement has been kind of going back and forth" on child discipline cases, he said.

The bill also says that other legal guardians and stepparents of children can spank a child, and school personnel and other people can, too, if they obtain written permission from the child's parents. Spanking may be used on children up to age 18, or older, if the child is still enrolled in high school, the bill says.

In written testimony Colle has prepared, he said parents "no longer know how to discipline children" because they are so afraid of being charged with a crime. The result, Colle said, is "an entire generation" of defiant children who lack discipline.

"Children have become fully aware of what they can legally get away with and play their parents off against each other and authorities," Colle's testimony said. "They can act out of control and get away with it because they can play the abuse or battery card and also get a change of custody to a more lenient parent."

The Topeka Capital-Journal has reached out to Rep. Finney, D-Wichita, seeking comment.

Rep. Blaine Finch, R-Ottawa, of the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, said the bill isn't scheduled for a hearing.

Deborah Sendek, program director at the Center for Effective Discipline based in Ohio, said her organization is opposed to hitting children in any form.

"What's the difference between a hit and a spank?" Sendek said. "It's still the action of causing pain."

Sendek said research indicates that hitting and spanking aren't more effective than other forms of discipline and could lead children to be more aggressive toward peers. That is because children learn from role models, she said, and part of what they learn when they are hit is that it is acceptable to hit someone when you are angry.

Additionally, she said, spanking a child leads to negative feelings that can undermine the child's ability to learn the immediate lesson that a parent is trying to teach.

Mark Tallman, a lobbyist for the Kansas Association of School Boards, said he thinks most school districts won't be interested in corporal punishment.

"If you're going to allow it you have a lot of issues and a lot of liability," Tallman said. "This certainly isn't anything that we've asked for -- I think most districts by local policy have said they don't want corporal punishment administered."

At the same time, though, KASB members -- the vast majority of Kansas' 286 school boards -- haven't discussed their legislative position on the matter in a long time, Tallman said. In the past, the group's position has been that school boards, not the state, should set corporal punishment policies.

KASB generally supports and advocates for local control of a wide variety of school matters.

Sen. Pat Pettey, a Democrat in Kansas City, Kan., said she would be reluctant to broaden opportunities under state law to engage in corporal punishment in schools. As a schoolteacher at the start of her career in the 1970s, spanking of students wasn't uncommon, Pettey said.

"It never really achieved the good you wanted to achieve because you were using violence," she said.

The Topeka Capital-Journal © 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 25206 at


The Wichita Eagle, Kansas, 19 February 2014

Spanking bill dies in Kansas House committee

By Suzanne Perez Tobias

Gail Finney

A bill intended to define corporal punishment and ease some restrictions on spanking in Kansas has died in committee.

An official with Rep. John Rubin's office said Wednesday that the bill "will not get a hearing" in the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee. Rubin, R-Shawnee, is chairman of the committee.

House Bill 2699, introduced by Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, would have allowed parents to hit children hard enough to leave redness or bruising. It also would have allowed parents to give permission to others, including caregivers or teachers, to spank their children.

In a statement posted on her website, Finney said the legislation "is not, as has been incorrectly reported, intended to legalize child abuse in Kansas."

"Parental corporal discipline in Kansas, along with 49 other states, has always been permitted," Finney said in the statement. "Unfortunately, Kansas has never affirmatively, expressly defined corporal discipline in Kansas statute, leaving the interpretation of that matter to administrative officials in the executive branch, law enforcement personnel, and the judicial branch."

She said the bill was intended to "provide guidance to officials ... serve as a guideline to parents, and protect children from abuse."

Finney said she submitted the bill at the request of McPherson County Assistant District Attorney Britt Colle because law enforcement officials, attorneys, judges, parents, school officials and others "have expressed confusion regarding the ambiguity of Kansas law regarding lawful parental corporal discipline and unlawful child abuse."

Colle did not return calls for comment.

"This legislation only seeks a consistent application of parental corporal discipline across all of Kansas' 105 counties," Finney said in the statement.

Current Kansas law allows spanking, but it does not spell out whether a parent can leave red marks or bruise a child. It also does not specify whether a parent can strike a child with a belt, wooden paddle or other object.


Abuse of a child, a felony, is defined in the criminal code as "torturing or cruelly beating" a child, shaking that results in bodily harm, or "inflicting cruel and inhuman corporal punishment."

The proposed legislation on spanking, House Bill 2699, would define corporal punishment as "up to 10 forceful applications in succession of a bare, open-hand palm against the clothed buttocks of a child."

The bill also would allow "reasonable physical force" to restrain a child during a spanking, and would acknowledge "that redness or bruising may occur on the tender skin of a child as a result."

Because it spells out the manner in which a parent could strike a child, the proposed law would ban hitting a child with fists, in the head, or with a belt or switch.

Kansas law requires teachers, doctors, counselors and other mandatory reporters to inform either local law enforcement or the Kansas Protection Reporting Center if they suspect a child has been abused. Redness or bruising could raise suspicions, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said, but investigating such instances "doesn't mean that a child-in-need-of-care case is going to be opened or that somebody is going to be charged," he said.

Responding to Finney's bill this week, Bennett said: "At some point, you've got to allow for some reasonable application of the law. You have to trust law enforcement officials and/or social work officials to exercise some discretion in recognizing what is just a spank on the bottom versus cruel beating or torture."

Corpun file 25421 at

EastWord News, Midwest City, Oklahoma, 20 February 2014

Legislative spotlight

Ron Sharp focuses on education

By Joel Dean



As a former teacher Senator Ron Sharp makes it a point to look out for the best interest of educators and students.

Senator Sharp wants to give teachers more authority and a power to enforce rules that he believes is severely lacking.

"Give teachers the opportunity to issue what I call an in-house discipline citation or a discipline ticket," Senator Sharp said. "At this point in time teachers have no options when walking into a classroom except yelling and unfortunately when you are yelling to students they realize that the teacher is not in control but the students are."

This will create fines, community service and other enforceable punishments giving teachers punitive power in many situations.

Sharp has a proposal to allow teachers immunity from prosecution when they intervene in student violence, and a proposed defense of optional corporal punishment.

"I still believe that the best discipline alternative out there is corporal punishment, I very strongly support schools using corporal punishment," Sharp said.

Senator Sharp is also behind a push to make any secondary assault on school employees a felony.

"The national statistic is nearly 5000 teachers per day are assaulted by their students throughout the United States," Sharp said. "In Oklahoma we have an aggravated assault (meaning if there is a bodily injury) as a felony."

The STEM communities (science Technology, Engineering and Math) currently soliciting corporate funding has no real state wide organization. Sharp has drafted a bill defining the criteria that these programs must meet before they are recognized as STEM.

Other than education bills he has a bill making it illegal to text while driving that was held over from last session that should make it to the senate floor this time around, and a bill giving non-custodial parents a legal defense for enforcing visitation rights.


Corpun file 25209 at

NBC logo

Action News 5 (WMC-TV), Memphis, Tennessee, 26 February 2014

Paddling could return to the classroom for some Mid-South schools

By Janice Broach

A punishment paddle
The school board on first reading approved paddling in the Arlington schools.

(WMC-TV) -- Some Arlington School Board members think paddling should be an option in the new school district despite the Shelby County School District recently voting no to corporal punishment in the unified schools.

The school board on first reading approved paddling in the Arlington schools. Arlington School board member Kevin Yates says paddling is just one option.

"We're not mandating that administrators at these schools use corporal punishment. It's still going to be at their discretion. It just provides an option and some guidelines," he said.

Under the guidelines only school administrators can carry out corporal punishment. It will not be used on first offenses and parents can say no, but the community still has mixed opinions.

"I believe it's fine. I know other parents don't appreciate that. I think if you don't discipline your children then they can really get out of hand," said parent Lisa Cook.

Arlington student Kayla Heinz, 16, wonders what lesson corporal punishment teaches.

"We're trying to teach our children to be nice to everybody and having violence going 'towards' that lesson isn't going to help," she said.

The Arlington Schools superintendent Tammy Mason said she is not in favor of corporal punishment and says the Arlington principals will not paddle.

The issue will come up again for its final reading in next month's Arlington School board meeting.

Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.


Two-minute news segment from local TV station WMCTV5 Memphis (27 Feb 2014) of which the above text is an abbreviated version. Brief vox pops by various parents with differing views.


This video clip is not currently available.

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.

blob Follow-up: 13 March 2014 - Arlington School Board Approves Corporal Punishment (with video clip)

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