|www.corpun.com : Archive : 2016 : US Schools Apr 2016|
Corpun file 26466 at www.corpun.com
13wmaz.com (WMAZ-TV), Macon, Georgia, 15 April 2016
Paddling common in some Central Georgia schools
By Justin McDuffie
State statistics show that several Central Georgia school districts don't believe in sparing the rod.
In fact, last year, Laurens County schools used corporal punishment more than any district in the state -- more than 1,000 times.
Georgia law allows corporal punishment and allows each school district to set their own policies.
Laurens school officials shared a copy of their discipline policy.
It says the principal or some other official can paddle a misbehaving student in the presence of another school official.
Paddling can not be the "first line" of discipline, unless parents approve.
And it says parents can opt out by filing a letter with the school each year saying that they don't want their child paddled.
Laurens schools Superintendent Juli Alligood gave 13WMAZ the following written statement:
Alligood said paddling has been part of the school's discipline code for years.
She said no child is spanked without a parent's permission and that, as a superintendent and former principal, she's never gotten a complaint from a parent.
Still, Laurens County students got paddled about 400 times more than the number two school district in the state, Wilcox County.
During the 2014-2015 school year, the top three paddling schools in the state were Wilcox County High School, Bleckley County Primary School and the East Laurens Primary School.
Other districts avoid corporal punishment. These districts didn't paddle any students in the last school year: Bibb, Houston, Hancock, Jones, Macon County and Putnam.
By the Numbers: Corporal Punishment in Central Ga. Schools
Source: Georgia Department of Education
According to Twiggs County Superintendent Elgin Dixon, corporal punishment is against board policy. He attributes the single incident on the states documents as an error.
Corpun file 26371 at www.corpun.com
13wmaz.com (WMAZ-TV), Macon, Georgia, 20 April 2016
Laurens Schools defend paddling punishments
By Justin McDuffie
[...] Laurens County students were paddled more than 1,000 times last year, and their superintendent says has [sic] been going on for a long time.
Kimberly Zacher has three children in Laurens County schools: two at West Laurens High and a younger one at Southwest Laurens Elementary.
"We want them to know there are consequences for their actions, and, so, the punishment we choose at home and the ones we approve of at school is corporal punishment," Zacher said.
She's one of many parents in Laurens County who allow the schools to paddle their children. Juli Alligood is the Superintendent for Laurens County Schools.
"If it's something someone's not comfortable with, we're certainly not going to do it, but we have a lot of parents who firmly want us to do that," Aligood said.
She says their discipline policy has been in place for more than 24 years and was last reviewed in 2008. She says every paddling follows a strict protocol.
"We call the parent. If the parent wishes for the child to be paddled, we would paddle the child. There's always a witness," Aligood said. "The teacher never does that. It's always the school administrator."
Zacher says that's what happened all four times that her daughter was paddled at Southwest Laurens Elementary.
"They gave me a call and let me know what she did and what the actions would be. She had two options, and, you know, we chose the paddling versus the detention or being expelled," Zacher said.
But not every parent is on board. Whitney McCants wrote on our Facebook page last week, in part, "I'm sorry, I'm the only one doing the paddling. I can discipline my child at home."
Zacher says a paddling is something her children will remember.
"We also don't want her to be out of the classroom. We expect her to be learning and know that if she disrupts that classroom, that there are expectations and consequences for her actions," Zacher said.
"Will corporal punishment in Laurens County ever go away? I don't know the answer to that question, but it's been a part of our discipline plan, but we're trying to foster some other choices for children so that they understand the importance of making good decisions early on," Alligood said.
She says they plan to roll out PBIS, or "Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports," in their elementary and middle schools. According to the Georgia Department of Education, PBIS "is an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school's sense of safety and support improved academic outcomes." It's already used in some Central Georgia counties like Monroe and Bibb.
(© 2016 WMAZ)
RELATED VIDEO CLIP
Two-and-a-half-minute news segment from local TV station WMAZ (20 April 2016) of which the above report is an edited version. The paddle-approving mother is interviewed, as also the Laurens County school superintendent, who stresses that CP is meted out only if the parents want it, and that the paddling is performed by an administrator, never by the teacher. The reporter shows the high school's paddle, which he says was used 66 times in the latest year.
HERE IS THE CLIP:
IMPORTANT: Copyright in this video material rests with the original copyright holders. This brief excerpt is reproduced under the "fair use" doctrine 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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