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School CP - July 2015

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NBC logo (WPTZ-TV), Burlington, Vermont, 9 July 2015

Bush student spanking prescription resonates

By Tom LoBianco



WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In 1995, when Jeb Bush was a real estate developer dusting himself off after his first failed run for governor, he wrote a book with a moral prescription for Florida that included an assertion not often discussed twenty years later: disciplining students by spanking them, he implied, may actually prevent school shootings.

Bush's writings on shaming single parents drew scrutiny when reporters reassessed his book this year and Democratic leaders pushed hard on the storyline ahead of his presidential announcement this month.

But overlooked was his discussion of spanking one page later. In his book, "Profiles in Character," he argues that shame is also effective at keeping students in line -- and spanking or paddling is the way to shame them.

"In some school districts, such as Walton County, one of the oldest forms of shame, corporal punishment, is alive and well, and despite protests by some parents and Florida's PTAs, the students have actually found that this doling out of shame is very effective," Bush wrote at the time.

He then closes by saying, "To date, Walton County has never experienced a shooting in any of its schools."

Public comments from Bush on the issue since then are scarce. Bush campaign spokesman Tim Miller declined repeatedly to say whether Bush still supported corporal punishment, only saying instead that Bush had a strong record on education during his eight years as governor, from 1999-2007.

Bush's book was published 20 years ago, but spanking students (or paddling them) still happens across the U.S., simmering just below the surface in states where issues like gay marriage, budget struggles and the federal health care law often take top billing.

In 2002, in the middle of a crisis at Florida's child welfare department, Bush selected Jerry Regier to run the agency. After it came out that Regier had promoted spanking children in a fiery 1989 essay that also argued against Christians marrying non-Christians, Bush stood by his new secretary, according to a Miami Herald article.

Corporal punishment still used

But even though Bush and other candidates aren't talking about the issue, corporal punishment is still a regular practice in many schools throughout the South and Midwest.

As of this year, 19 states allow corporal punishment or corporal discipline, according to the United Children's Defense Fund, and in Kansas last year, one lawmaker pushed to expand the practice to allow for bruising children.

In the Florida panhandle many schools still allow corporal punishment of students. And, as of 2012, some students in Holmes County were still sanding and polishing their own paddles which could then be used on them.

In Walton County, which Bush held up as an example of moral success, 251 students were paddled in 2011-2012 (the most recent school year for which the U.S. Department of Education has statistics). But in 2014, the school board decided to ban the practice, on the recommendation of school superintendent Carlene Anderson.

"As a school board, we looked carefully at corporal punishment and made the determination that indeed there were other forms of discipline that were more effective," said Gail Smith, chairwoman of the Walton County School Board.

Medical researchers disagree with Bush's comment. They say that spanking students can actually increase violent behavior among students, as well as increase their chances for developing mental illnesses later in life.


The Children's Defense Fund, relying on the latest national numbers from U.S. Department of Education, determined that in the 2009-2010 school year, roughly 150,840 students were spanked or paddled in public schools throughout the nation. The most recent information available from the U.S. Department of Education is from the 2011-2012 school year, and only tallies information by school district and school.

The most recent information from the department's Civil Rights Data Collection show that in 2011, 16 Walton County schools used corporal punishment, ranging from as little as 41 instances in one school, to as much as 900 times during the school year in the Van R. Butler Elementary school.

James McNulty, founder of Floridians Against Corporal Punishment in Public Schools, won a surprise victory against spanking supporters in Santa Rosa County last year. But his fight is moving county-by-county. To date, 24 out of Florida's 67 counties still allow corporal punishment in schools.

"We're very aware of Jeb Bush and his stance on corporal punishment," McNulty said.


Copyright 2015 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 26143 at


Orlando Sentinel, Florida, 28 July 2015, p.B2

Paddling no longer in Lake's school code

By Bethany Rodgers
Staff Writer

Press cutting

TAVARES -- Lake County education officials on Monday resolved to purge the last traces of corporal punishment from the school system's policies.

The School Board voted to delete references to corporal punishment from the code of student conduct and policy guide. Members also tentatively decided to remove it from district policy.

The actions came without any public comment or debate among board members.

Lake's school district is becoming the last in Central Florida to set aside the paddle for good.

Although corporal punishment long ago fell out of use at Lake's public schools, it was still technically permitted under the system's policies.

In addition, consent forms have gone out to parents each year asking whether they would let school administrators paddle their children.

School Board members agreed with their attorney that legal liabilities make a corporal punishment provision too risky.

Still, some officials seemed wistful about the changes.

Board member Bill Mathias commented at a past meeting that he is "not one to spare the rod" and said corporal punishment at his school helped keep him and his classmates in line. Fellow board member Stephanie Luke has said she has no problem with spanking in theory.

However, Mathias said he didn't see the sense in hanging on to corporal punishment if schools never used it. And Luke said she wouldn't want to put school employees in danger of legal action.

Superintendent Susan Moxley has told board members she would never advise school administrators to paddle a child.

School Board Chairwoman Debbie Stivender, who was absent from Monday's meeting, has previously said abolishing the paddling provision would bring Lake in line with other districts in the region.

"It really comes down to consistency," Stivender said in June.

Lake's previous provision placed tight restrictions on corporal punishment, allowing paddling only with parental consent and in front of a witness. Principals and school administrators were authorized to carry out the discipline.

This year, a committee of principals overwhelmingly recommended deleting the corporal-punishment provision from district policies. The same panel of principals made the same request last year, but the board decided to keep corporal punishment as an option.

Though the county's public schools haven't used paddling in years, the change in policy could have real-world consequences for local charter schools where the practice has persisted.

At Mascotte Elementary Charter, parents have been able to administer corporal punishment in place of other forms of discipline. However, since the charter uses district policies as a template, this parental-discipline option might vanish with the School Board's decision to abolish corporal punishment.

Florida is one of 19 states that allow corporal punishment in schools. According to the state Department of Education, the punishments were used more than 2,000 times in the 2013-14 school year, chiefly by schools in the Panhandle.

Corpun file 26144 at

The Sand Mountain Reporter, Albertville, Alabama, 29 July 2015

System to ban corporal punishment in two schools

By Bradley Roberts


Guntersville Superintendent Brett Stanton recommended a change in the school system's policy in regards to corporal punishment during the Guntersville Board of Education's meeting Monday.

He said currently in the system only two schools, Guntersville Middle and Cherokee Elementary schools, use the method as a type of punishment.


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