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Corpun file 25825 at www.corpun.com
The Virgin Islands Daily News, Saint Thomas, 19 December 2014, p.4
Corporal punishment, truancy bills fail to make it out of Rules Committee
By Aldeth Lewin
ST. THOMAS -- The Senate Rules and Judiciary Committee passed a number of bills Thursday, including a bill to make Strand Street in Frederiksted a one-way street, that will be considered at today's legislative session.
Two controversial bills -- one addressing student truancy and one banning corporal punishment in public schools -- were tabled indefinitely.
The bill to ban corporal punishment was sponsored by Sen. Judi Buckley, who is not returning to the 31st Legislature.
The teachers' union opposed the bill, and members testified at several Senate hearings and said that even if they did not ever have to use corporal punishment, it is a necessary tool to keep control in a classroom.
The bill said that no one shall inflict any form of corporal punishment on a student attending a school or institution, then lists certain exceptions to the rule, including stopping a disturbance that is threatening physical injury to others; to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects; for the purpose of self-defense; and for the protection of persons and property.
The truancy bill, also sponsored by Buckley, was killed by the Rules Committee on Thursday as well.
The measure stated that a student is truant if they have seven or more unexcused absences in one month or 10 unexcused absences in an academic year.
Senators said they are not comfortable with the criminalization of students under the bill.
According to the bill, a student could face steep fines and even jail time for truancy.
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