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School CP - November 2014

Corpun file 25701 at

Buna Beacon, Texas, 5 November 2014

CPS concludes BJHS child abuse investigation; AP cleared

By Beacon Staff


Buna ISD administration received word from the Child Protective Services Wednesday, October 29, that they had concluded their investigation into a child abuse accusation concerning a parental complaint regarding the corporal punishment of her BJHS student and found no abuse on the part of Assistant Principal Mike Brewster.

According to BISD Superintendent Dr. Steve Hyden, AP Brewster addressed a student regarding a reported violation of the Student Code of Conduct Monday, October 6, and the student chose the option of corporal punishment rather than that of in-school suspension.

"The AP proceeded to contact the parent to get confirmation that the choice of punishment was agreeable," shared Dr. Hyden. "The parent agreed to the corporal punishment option."

He went on to explain that with BJHS Principal Amber Flowers as witness, the AP proceeded with protocol to question the student as to whether he had any injuries or physical condition that would prohibit him from being able to receive the corporal punishment.

"The student responded that he had no physical prohibitions and wanted to proceed," said Dr. Hyden. However, once AP Brewster administered the punishment, the student recanted his statement regarding his condition and indicated that he had an existing bruise.

The following day, the parent met with the AP and presented a picture indicating a large bruise on the child and accused the AP of creating the bruise. "The AP responded that he had not and that the bruise was in no way consistent with that which would be caused by a paddle," continued Dr. Hyden.

Said parent then proceeded to notify local news stations and Child Protective Services, with whom she filed a formal complaint. As the community noticed the commotion on campus, calls began coming in, and coincidentally, the Jasper County Sheriff's Office was conducting a lock-down drill at BJHS the very same day, adding to the confusion.

BISD immediately investigated the incident, concluding that there was sufficient evidence to prove that the child was bruised prior to attending school on Monday, October 6, and when contacted by the media, Dr. Hyden maintained that the charges against AP Brewster were false.

CPS Investigator Coy Collins conducted interviews of all parties Thursday, October 9, and reviewed physical evidence including the picture and the paddle, and after careful consideration and almost three weeks, his finding was the same as that of the BISD administration.

"Mr. Brewster and school admin received the notification from CPS that the investigation was concluded and the finding of 'Ruled Out' was issued, stating that there was sufficient evidence to conclude that indeed the AP was innocent of the charged abuse," concluded Dr. Hyden.

Copyright © 2012 Buna Beacon. All Rights Reserved

Corpun file 25816 at

NBC logo (WJHG News Channel 7), Panama City Beach, Florida, 13 November 2014

School Officials Split on Spanking in School

By Brian Hill


Paddle on desk

WASHINGTON COUNTY: Florida is one of only 19 states still allowing corporal punishment in schools.

Recent reports call the practice outdated and ineffective. But area school districts are split on spanking.

Principals like Steve Griffin of Vernon Elementary School have to deal with discipline issues everyday.

How they deal with punishing students is a topic that gets mixed reactions.

"Most of them just stand up to the desk and take the position and accept the punishment. Some cry. But the whole point of it is that they understand that there's a punishment or consequence for the choice that they made," Griffin explained.


He's had to spank about seven students this school year. A practice that is still allowed in 19 states across the U.S. and 28 counties in Florida, including Jackson, Gulf, and Holmes counties.

Just like states are split on spanking, so are parents.

"I think spanking children is necessary. I think that's how they know they're doing something wrong. Uhm. I think if you don't spank them, then they just think they can do anything that they wanna do," said Washington County Mom Chelsie Johnson.

"You hear so many things getting out of hand, you know, and personally I don't want anyone else touching my child like that. You know? I think that's a family matter, to handle at home," said Wendy McGhee, parent of a Chipley High School 9th Grader.

The practice involves bending a student over a desk, then swatting their buttock once or twice with a witness present.

But now more states and districts are eliminating the practice.

In 2010, around 216,000 kids across the US were spanked at school. Last year, 3,000 were spanked in Florida.

"The fear of it is more effective than anything else. You know, as far as behavior modification changes on how they perceive things, but also with the understanding that there's a very swift punishment coming that normally can change behavior," said Washington County Superintendent Joe Taylor.



One-minute news segment from TV station WJHG, Panama City Beach (13 Nov 2014) briefly covers some of the above points. A paddle is shown, and a mother is interviewed.


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.

Corpun file 25730 at

ABC News logo (12 News KBMT-TV), Beaumont, Texas, 18 November 2014

BISD looks to change punishment policy

By Rebeca Trejo


BEAUMONT -- Beaumont ISD tells 12News, Superintendent Vern Butler wants to get rid of the district's current corporal punishment policy.

It allows school administrators to spank children if parental approval is granted.

The district doesn't know if and when the change might happen, but a district spokesman tells 12News the superintendent has been asking administrators to use other forms of discipline.

According to research by the Houston Chronicle, corporal punishment is on the decline, especially in urban school districts.

Now, Beaumont ISD, the largest school district in southeast Texas is looking to remove corporal punishment, partially because it's too much of a liability problem.

"I wouldn't want someone else disciplining my child the way they feel they need them disciplined," said Beaumont mom Angela Demore. "I would like to make those decisions."

Demore said she doesn't think swatting, switching or spanking children in schools is an effective form of discipline.

"In my opinion, it doesn't solve anything," she said. "Because they're going to go back to doing what they were doing before that."

BISD allows it, for now.

District spokesman Ron Reynolds spoke on behalf of new superintendent Vern Butler, who wants to remove corporal punishment.

"He has encouraged principals to find an alternative measure for punishing students versus using corporal punishment," said Reynolds.

Though BISD administrators must have parental permission before giving swats, Reynolds warns against using it as a shield.

"Administrators cannot fall under the umbrella of protection that they've received permission from a parent to use corporal punishment," said Reynolds. "Parents are not allowed to cause physical bodily harm to child, so therefore, administrators can't either."

According to a Houston Chronicle analysis of education data, BISD administered 734 counts of corporal punishment during the 2011 to 2012 school year. A snapshot of enrollment shows there were 19,870 children in attendance during this school year. This creates a ratio of 4 swats per 100 children.

It's low compared to Newton ISD's 12 to 100 ratio.

In response to this finding, Newton's superintendent Michelle Barrow said:

"At the time that was the trend. Parents sign and give permission in order for that discipline to be administered."

Most Beaumont parents 12News spoke with approve of BISD's move away from physical punishment.

"I think that's a wonderful idea, because that'll help teach different ways on the more positive level of correcting a child's behavior," said another Beaumont mom Emma Harrison.

© Copyright 2000-2014 WorldNow and KBMT. All Rights Reserved.


Three-minute news segment from TV station 12 News KBMT Beaumont, Texas (19 Nov 2014) of which the above report is a more or less verbatim transcript.


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.

Corpun file 25737 at

ABC News logo (KATV channel 7), Little Rock, Arkansas, 19 November 2014

Should Arkansas schools still use corporal punishment?

By Alexis Rogers

Classroom with teacher and students

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- Arkansas is one of 19 states that still practices corporal punishment. Parents continue to give schools permission to spank their children while in school. Parents like Mary Kathryn Triglown and Rachel Scott of Pine Bluff signed off on their children receiving corporal punishment.

"My parents signed off for it and I didn't have a problem signing off for it for my kids," Scott said. "When they brought home the handbooks every year, we had to sign something to say it was okay. It would have been okay with me as a parent," Triglown said.

Scott's daughter Ladajah, 16, is currently a junior at Watson Chapel High School. Scott said although her daughter has not received corporal punishment, she welcomes the option if needed.

"I grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois, and there was corporal punishment, and if you disrupt the class they had consequences for it," Scott said.

Triglown's twin daughters Olivia and Kathryn both graduated from Watson Chapel High School and now attend Arkansas Tech University. Triglown said it was embedded in her culture.

"I grew up being spanked as a child, not that much, but I do understand the need for that. I do know that it can get out of hand. I also know when I was back in school there was corporal punishment and we had to have witnesses and so forth," Triglown said.

According to the Arkansas Department of Education, 186 school districts in the state have exercised corporal punishment, totaling more than 70% of districts in the state.

There were 21,477 instances of corporal punishment, 83,396 instances of in-school suspension, and 50,881 instances of out-of-school suspension for the state of Arkansas during the 2013-2014 school year.


Johnny Purvis, a retired professor from University of Central Arkansas, now consults schools on how to effectively use disciplinary measures.

Purvis said in order for any disciplinary practice to be effective, it will take multiple communities to work together.

"It's what I call the trinity. How the community, the home and the school have to work together, they have to. If they don't, youngsters will play the system," Purvis said.

The Watson Chapel School District holds the highest numbers in the state for the 2013-2014 school year, with 1,541 instances of corporal punishment. The majority of the districts range from single digits to two or three hundred.

"I am really surprised that those numbers are that high," Scott said. "I don't know of any of my friends who are in the Watson Chapel School District, I don't know if any of them have experienced that, so I am really surprised with that number being so high."

Guidelines for what students can do to receive corporal punishment vary from district to district. Some are more specific than others.

According to the Watson Chapel handbook, "Corporal punishment shall be administered only for cause, be reasonable, follow warnings that the misbehavior will not be tolerated, and be administered only by a school administrator and only in the presence of a certified employee."

Experts like Purvis say corporal punishment is ineffective if overused."We overuse corporal punishment often. We overuse suspension often, talking about external, in-school and expulsion," Purvis said.

Purvis dedicated his life's work to understanding children and looking into proper disciplinary measures. He outlines those in his book Safe and Successful Schools: A Compendium for the New Millennium.

"I center all of my discipline techniques around something called 'time out response calls'. They've got to give up something. Often times corporal punishment is some youngsters you can paddle them and they will be good for six months, and some will come right back and do it the next day," Purvis said.

Unlike the Watson Chapel School District, the Mountain View School District falls in the middle of the spectrum with 195 cases. Superintendent Rowdy Ross says the district tries to exercise all of their options.

"It could be as simple as a warning, to maybe a D-hall where you have to stay in at lunch, in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions. We do use corporal punishment some also," Ross said. "Sometimes students get a choice. Would you rather serve a day of in-school suspension or get corporal punishment? Then they get to decide."

Parents, educators, and experts agree that every child is different, therefore calling for different decisions.

"It just depends on the student, but lots of times students want to take their swats and get back to class and they don't miss anything else. If they don't have a long discipline record or whatever, they just want to get it over with and go on back to their world," Ross said.

"If they are used to being whipped at home or spanked or whatever, odds are it's not going to work at the school. Because they are used to it," Purvis said.

Scott said both of her children were a prime example that discipline has to be catered to differences."My son had to get spanked all the time by me. My daughter didn't. So it worked well for him where putting her on punishment worked better for her," Scott said.

"If you don't discipline and hold them accountable, they think that you don't love them. It's as if you'd care enough for me to hold me accountable," Purvis said.

"They need uniformity. I think there is a strong need for some type of discipline, some type of structure," Triglown said.

After weighing all the factors, Purvis said the biggest problem for parents like Triglown and Scott might be consistency.

"Our biggest problem in society and our schools dealing with youngsters and adults, we tend to be consistently inconsistent, and with youngsters we have to be consistent," Purvis said.

Channel 7 reached out to the Watson Chapel School District, but they declined to comment.

© Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KATV. All Rights Reserved.


Four-minute news segment from TV station KATV7, Little Rock (20 Nov 2014), of which the above report is a considerably abbreviated version. The paddles shown appear to be novelty items, not the real thing.


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.

Corpun file 25810 at


Houston Chronicle, Texas, 23 November 2014, p.A1

Texas holds tight to tradition on school spankings

By Mark Collette

Map of Texas

HARDIN -- Running back Adrian Peterson, fighting what is now a season-long suspension from the NFL, acknowledged he is learning disciplinary techniques as alternatives to the whipping that landed him in court.

His home state of Texas, on the other hand, is reluctant to let go of the switch.

It outlawed beating prisoners in 1941. But in the 2011-12 school year, the state physically punished nearly 30,000 students.

Across the rural South, parents cling to the combination of folk wisdom, nostalgia and Scripture that inspire them not to spare the rod. They demand it remain an option in schools, and even chastise administrators who refuse to do it.

Paddlings are so ingrained in Texas culture that students are opted in by default. Parents must sign forms at the beginning of each school year if they don't want their kids hit. They didn't even have that option until 2012.

Most Americans approve of spanking at home, despite research showing it might inflict lasting psychological damage and does little to correct behavior. Critics of those studies say they don't account for the obvious chicken-egg problem: Punished children were misbehaving, so they were already more likely to have problems later on.

Texas and 18 other states hold fast to laws that give not just parents, but school employees, codified approval to keep popping, spanking, swatting or paddling.

More than 4 out of 10 Texas school districts struck misbehaving students, often with a wooden paddle, in 2011-12, the most recent records available.

Press cutting

Nationwide, school officials were more likely to hit black students than white ones, and the paddle landed disproportionately on the backsides of disabled children.

The findings are part of a Chronicle analysis of U.S. Department of Education data collected from across the nation, including more than 45,000 campuses in the 19 states that allow corporal punishment at school.

Entrenched values

As widespread as the practice remains, it is on a steep decline. No children received paddlings in Texas' largest urban districts, where school boards banned it. But educators indicate pops in the principal's office will never disappear without legislation, because Texas is a state of entrenched rural values and emphasis on local control. Statewide bans failed at least nine times since 1987. None of the bills made it out of committee.

This year in Hardin, the Liberty County school district with the highest rate of paddlings in greater Houston, only four parents signed opt-out slips, administrators said. They did it because they preferred to inflict the punishment themselves.

It's a district of about 6,900 people and six Baptist churches on the edge of the Pine Curtain, where Texas conservatism hardens with every eastward step. Most folks were born and raised here. They work for the district, the largest employer, or make the hour commute to the industrial complexes outside Houston.

Press cutting

In towns like this across rural Texas, they grow rather than recruit their educators. Superintendent Bob Parker, beaming with pride over a district that exceeded state standards four years running, started in Hardin 45 years ago before moving around the state and eventually returning to the administration office here. His lieutenant, curriculum director Tammie Marberry, graduated from Hardin High School in 1983.

Back then, teachers hit kids in the hallway. Later, only principals could do it, and it had to be in the office. Then they had to have a witness.

Today, each school has a discipline coordinator who calls parents before a paddling. The person is trained on how to explain the disciplinary action to the student and how to administer the licks with the paddle -- a varnished wooden board about as thick as a deck of cards and as long as a man's forearm -- so as not to injure, never more than three times. At the high school, that person is Assistant Principal Ronald Scott, a 6-foot-4inch former college football lineman whose sheer presence can be enough to dissuade potential mischief-makers.

Scott doesn't like using corporal punishment. Parker and Marberry don't, either. At the middle schools, the new assistant principal, who is also new to Hardin, doesn't believe in it.

Marberry said she has seen firsthand that depriving a student of 45 minutes of social time by assigning lunch detention is far more effective than a few licks, especially with older students.

Steady decline

As more school officials reach the same conclusions, the rate of corporal punishment is plummeting, down 80 percent in Texas from 2001 to 2012. In Hardin, the decline was slower, about 24 percent. But only two students have received paddlings in the first nine weeks of school this year, Marberry said. At that rate, the district will paddle only eight students, down from 40 in 2012.

Yet paddling remains an option here because school officials don't answer to studies. They answer to their community. And the locally elected school board has never had a challenge to the corporal punishment policy. Parents like Kim Wolfe would be outraged.

At home, her disciplinary method of choice is to revoke privileges. School is a different matter. Her 13-year-old son had recurrent discipline problems in second grade, but those settled down after he was treated for attention deficit disorder. Still, he's a normal teenager, she said, and occasionally acts out at school.

"You can misbehave all day long at home -- that's fine, I can handle that," she said. "But when you take yourself out in the community, out in town or at school, you best be on your best behavior because we do not raise fools. You will mind your manners, you will follow the rules, and you will be respectful. If you can't do those three things, you will get your butt tore up."

Wolfe has knocked heads with school officials who at times didn't want to dole out swats when she requested them.

The practice worked for her, for her family, for her husband and for his family. She says it's the same for almost everyone she knows in town, though she allows that it may not work for everyone.

And that's what state Rep. Alma Allen is up against, trying to ban what's considered a generations-old builder of character. To the Houston Democrat, a black educator representing a minority district, it is a vestige of slavery, and the data that shows school officials disproportionately hit black boys suggests an obvious regression: "Let me do what I want to do with my child. It's mine. I can beat it. I can stomp it. I can do whatever I want to do to it."

Yet corporal punishment is not evenly rejected in black America. In Peterson's hometown, some said switchings were part of growing up under segregation, of an understanding that black kids were held to a different standard and so needed the sternest discipline. NBA commentator Charles Barkley sparked debate when he equated lashings to a black rite of passage.

Allen sits on the House Public Education Committee with fellow black Democrat and Houston Rep. Harold Dutton, who has resisted Allen's efforts and even authored laws to ensure families can continue to hit their children at home.

Teacher liability

Against the muddle of culture, science, religion and history that has shaped the nation's evolving views on hitting kids, another factor may be most responsible for bans in urban centers.

"Corporal punishment does nothing but expose the teacher to liability," said Gayle Fallon, president of the union that represents teachers in the Houston Independent School District. It passed a ban in 2001.

Peterson ran into the same problem: While Texas law gives both school employees and parents some immunity for using corporal punishment, the line between legal hitting and abuse can be subjective.

"It was amazing how quickly the school district would cut (a teacher) loose if someone came in with an allegation," Fallon said. So the union, which once demanded to have all disciplinary options on the table, changed course.

Allen will reintroduce her bill in the 2015 legislative session.

It will face an uphill battle from lawmakers who represent districts like Hardin, where fear of liability continues to take a back seat to deeply held custom.

More detailed figures published on the Houston Chronicle website on 18 November 2014:

Hardin: 151 per 1,000 students
East Chambers: 70 per 1,000 students
Mainland Preparatory Academy: 66 per 1,000 students
Sweeny: 58 per 1,000 students
The Rhodes School: 48 per 1,000 students
Dayton: 39 per 1,000 students
Anahuac: 27 per 1,000 students
Liberty: 25 per 1,000 students
Cleveland: 19 per 1,000 students
Barbers Hill: 18 per 1,000 students
Amherst: 467 per 1,000 students
Adrian: 333 per 1,000 students
Calvert: 310 per 1,000 students
Cherokee: 289 per 1,000 students
Groveton: 276 per 1,000 students
Castleberry: 273 per 1,000 students
Slocum: 256 per 1,000 students
Roscoe: 252 per 1,000 students
Leary: 252 per 1,000 students
Hemphill: 241 per 1,000 students
Mitchell Guidance Center Middle, Victoria ISD: 861 per 1,000 students
Castleberry High School, Castleberry ISD: 834 per 1,000 students
Crocket Middle School, Pecos-Barstow Toyah ISD: 679 per 1,000 students
Hemphill High School, Hemphill ISD: 500 per 1,000 students
Amherst School, Amherst ISD: 479 per 1,000 students
Tidehaven High School, Tidehaven ISD: 478 per 1,000 students
Mount Pleasant High, Mount Pleasant ISD: 428 per 1,000 students
Reach High School, Castleberry ISD: 425 per 1,000 students
Paris DAEP, Paris ISD: 402 per 1,000 students
Cheatham Middle School, Clarksville ISD: 381 per 1,000 students

Corpun file 25781 at

CBS logo (WKRG-TV News 5), Mobile, Alabama, 25 November 2014

When Is Corporal Punishment Okay At School?

By Pat Peterson


ATMORE, ALABAMA -- An Atmore mother says her son was paddled five times after a fight at Escambia County Middle School without her permission.

Corporal punishment is still allowed in Escambia County schools. Parents have to sign a "no paddling" form at the beginning of the school year.

Danielle Stubbs says she signed the form, but her 11 year old son, Kaylen, was still spanked.

Stubbs says the paddling was so severe, she took Kaylen to the hospital and filed a police report.

School officials would not comment about the incident, citing personnel issues.

Stubbs admits fighting at school was wrong, but says her son's punishment was out of line.

© Copyright 2000-2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC.


Two-minute news segment from local TV station WKRG News 5, Mobile, Alabama, (26 Nov 2014) of which the above report is an abbreviated version. The complaining mother is interviewed.


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.

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