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School CP - September 2016

Corpun file 26467 at

Lexington Herald-Leader, Kentucky, 4 September 2016


The paddle is still wielded in Kentucky schools, but in declining numbers

By Valarie Honeycutt Spears



At Bell Central School Center in Pineville, rated "distinguished" in the Kentucky accountability system, principal Greg Wilson said parents of misbehaving students often request that their children be paddled instead of getting suspended and losing time in the classroom.

Corporal punishment, or paddling, is fading as a disciplinary method in Kentucky public schools, dropping from 3,075 incidents in 2005 to 574 in 2015, according to the latest available data. But Bell County is among 25 school districts that reported still using corporal punishment. The state has 173 school districts.

Bell County schools reported 148 incidents of corporal punishment in 2015, the most of any district in the state. Bell Central, a combination elementary and middle school, reported 107 incidents of corporal punishment that school year, according to the Kentucky Department of Education.

"We're a very high performing school here. Parents don't want their kids to be out of class," Wilson said.

"A lot of us are old school, and parents will ask us if they can use that option. We try many things before we get to that point," Wilson said, adding, "We don't do it for running in the hallway or not having a pencil."

Wilson said at his school, paddling means that a fully clothed child bends over and touches his or her knees. Depending on the age of the child and the infraction, the student is given one to three swats on the backside with a round paddle that is somewhat larger than a ping-pong paddle. There are two witnesses, he said. The person administering the swats is the same gender as the child and is generally an administrator.

Don't expect the Kentucky General Assembly to prohibit the practice any time soon.

Under the law, corporal punishment can be used in Kentucky public schools, with each district making its own decision. The local district, rather than the Kentucky Department of Education, sets the code of conduct and the discipline policy for students in each school operated by the district. Paddling is not allowed in Fayette County Public Schools.

State Sen. Mike Wilson, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said he doesn't see a need for changing the law.

"There was corporal punishment when I was going to school, and I'm not any worse the wear for it," said Wilson, R-Bowling Green.

"I'm not a fan of changing the law unless it's absolutely necessary. At this point, I don't know that anybody has presented any overwhelming evidence that we need a change in the law."

In Bell County, Superintendent Yvonne Gilliam said, the decision is left up to principals, and parents have to give their permission.


All parents have the option of requesting that corporal punishment not be administered, she said.

"It works for some students," said Gilliam. "We use it always with parental backing. It's never administered to a child whose parents sign the form that they do not want that type of disciplinary action on their child."

She said she's had very few complaints from parents.

"I don't request that any principal use corporal punishment nor do I tell them that they can't," she said.

Corporal punishment is not used at the high school level, Gilliam said. The district has six combined elementary and middle schools, she said, but not all use corporal punishment.

The number of paddlings in Bell County Schools is down from 393 in 2005, but Gilliam said she did not plan to intentionally further curb the use of corporal punishment.

"We don't have a lot of serious disciplinary problems. I feel my schools are extremely safe. We demand high standards of conduct, and we work hard to achieve that," Gilliam said.

Brad Hughes, spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association, said at least 67 Kentucky school districts have policies permitting corporal punishment. But in 2015, corporal punishment was used in only 25.

"It's fading out of the disciplinary options in the state. Consistently it's trending downward," Hughes said.

Most districts use in-school and out-of-school suspension and other behavior techniques instead of corporal punishment.

The school boards association doesn't recommend corporal punishment. Neither does state Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt, who told the Herald-Leader, "Personally, I don't believe it is appropriate for adults to be using physical force on children in a school setting."


House Education Committee chairman Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, said he would probably support a bill prohibiting corporal punishment in Kentucky public schools.

"We have to have discipline in the schools," Graham said. "But there are other methods by which we can initiate discipline."


In Kentucky, Greenup County schools' dwindling use of corporal punishment is similar to what happened in other districts in the state.

District officials went from using corporal punishment 25 times in 2010 to zero in 2015. Greenup County Superintendent Sherry Horsley said she was hired as superintendent in 2014.

Corporal punishment, Horsley said, is "not something I would recommend as a first choice because there are lots of other ways to find solutions. As a professional decision, I don't think it's a first stop in dealing with student behaviors."

Corpun file 26469 at

Longview News-Journal, Texas, 5 September 2016

Some East Texas schools still use spanking, though corporal punishment on decline

By Christina Lane



Corporal punishment remains a form of discipline in many East Texas schools, including in Longview and Pine Tree ISDs.

Pine Tree ISD reported using the measure 773 times in the past five years.

In Spring Hill and Hallsville ISDs, the practice remains on the books as a discipline option but has not been used in recent years.

"The practice in SHISD, since I have been here, is that we do not use corporal punishment as a consequence for bad behavior," said Spring Hill Superintendent Steven Snell. "It is listed in our code of conduct and in board policy as an option, but it is not used currently."

Hallsville ISD spokeswoman Carol Greer said the district does not administer corporal punishment and reported no incidents in the past five years.

Though corporal punishment in American schools has declined in recent decades, paddling is still on the books in 19 states, despite calls from the U.S. Education Department to curb punitive discipline, which has been shown to affect minority and disabled students disproportionately.


Mary Whitton, spokeswoman for Pine Tree ISD, said the district's top goal is to encourage positive behavior; however, corporal punishment remains on the books as an option.

"Pine Tree ISD does allow corporal punishment and is used only as a technique for discipline management," Whitton said. "The district and campus administrators have a variety of discipline techniques that are used with students. Our first goal is to encourage positive and reward positive behaviors. If corporal punishment is used, the parent must sign a permission sheet, and the district guidelines must be followed."

In Pine Tree and Longview ISDs, corporal punishment is not administered to students whose parents submit a signed statement for the current school year to the campus principal prohibiting the use of corporal punishment with his or her child.

Per each district's local policy, the parent can reinstate permission to use corporal punishment at any time during the school year by submitting a signed statement to the principal.

When it is used in Longview or Pine Tree ISDs, corporal punishment is limited to spanking or paddling the student and is used with the following guidelines, which are identical for each school district:

1. The student shall be told the reason corporal punishment is being administered.

2. Corporal punishment shall be administered only by an administrator. In grades 7 through 12, the administrator shall be of the same sex as the student.

3. The instrument to be used in administering corporal punishment shall be approved by the principal.

4. Corporal punishment shall be administered in the presence of one other district professional employee and in a designated place out of view of other students.

White Oak and Gladewater ISDs also allow corporal punishment, and their policies are the same as in Longview and Pine Tree with the exception that their guidelines state that corporal punishment will be administered by an employee who is the same sex as the student, without any qualification of grade level.

Dena Sloan, secretary to the superintendent in Gladewater ISD, said the procedure for using corporal punishment begins with a phone call to the parent.

Sloan said a district official must call the parent before administering corporal punishment, and it is "one of the last discipline management strategies we choose to utilize if parents choose to allow."

If a parent declines it, corporal punishment is not used, she said. If it is used, a witness must be present.

White Oak ISD Superintendent Mike Gilbert said corporal punishment is limited. The district reported using it 51 times in the past five years.

"Corporal punishment is another method available to our administrators in the effort to correct inappropriate behavior," Gilbert said.

Longview and Gladewater ISDs did not immediately provide a number of how many times corporal punishment has been used in the past five years.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2016, Longview News-Journal, All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 26468 at

Citizen-Times, Asheville, North Carolina, 7 September 2016

Another WNC school district ends paddling

By Julie Ball


ASHEVILLE -- Macon County school officials have done away with corporal punishment, making Graham County the last Western North Carolina school district to use paddling.

And Graham County schools are using corporal punishment less, according to the annual survey from NC Child released on Wednesday.

The survey shows the Graham school district used corporal punishment 22 times in 2015-16. That compares to 44 times in 2014-15.

"We are very, very hopeful that this is going to disappear before long," said Tom Vitaglione with the advocacy group NC Child, which has pushed to end corporal punishment in North Carolina schools.

Graham is one of just two North Carolina counties that still use corporal punishment. The other is Robeson, which used it 35 times in 2015-16. That was down from 88 times the year before.

Macon County schools used corporal punishment 14 times in 2015-16.

Macon County School Superintendent Chris Baldwin said the board opted to do away with corporal punishment while revising the district policy manual over the summer.

"We completely revised our Macon County Schools policy manual. That was just part of that whole process," Baldwin said.

The only feedback Baldwin received regarding the change was from a community member who "felt like we were tying the hands of principals."

But Baldwin said corporal punishment was used "so minimally" over the last few years. Most principals were not using it at all, he said.

"It's just not something that our schools are comfortable doing anymore," he said.

Last year, one principal and one assistant principal used corporal punishment in the district. That principal has since retired.

In Graham County, Superintendent Angela Knight said schools are using paddling less.

"It's a choice the kids make and the parents have to support," she said. "It's the last resort."

Paddling is not done at the elementary school level. It mainly happens in high school and occasionally at middle school.

"They (students) just choose that rather than missing school," she said. "I think it's part of our mountain culture in a way."

The schools use a wooden paddle, and parents can witness the punishment if they want.

Corporal punishment was once much more common in North Carolina schools.

In 1985, the state started letting each school district decide whether to use corporal punishment.

By the 2010-11 school year, schools in 17 North Carolina counties used corporal punishment 891 times, according to numbers from the state Department of Public Instruction. Six of those counties were in Western North Carolina.

In the last couple of years, several mountain school systems have done away with paddling including Swain, Madison and McDowell school districts.

The most recent survey from NC Child shows it was used 71 times last year in three counties. Vitaglione credits "a whole new generation of educators" who have been exposed to research showing that corporal punishment is not effective.

Corpun file 26472 at

CBS logo (WTVY-TV), Dothan, Alabama, 12 September 2016

Alabama ranks third most in highest number of students paddled

By Nicholas Phillips

DOTHAN, AL (WTVY) -- There's numerous ways students are disciplined in school such as suspensions, a call home, or even a paddling. According the U.S. Department of Education, in the 2013-2014 school year, of all the students paddled in public schools across the nation, Alabama ranks 3rd in highest percentage. Alabama ranks behind only Mississippi and Texas. Nearly 19,000 students received a paddling that year.

There were several schools in the wiregrass area that ranked in the top 25 in students paddled by percentage in the state. The highest of which being Pike County High School which paddled 39.5% of its students. And all the way down at 3rd from last was Jerry Lee Faine Elementary in Dothan.

"Today there are a whole lot of parents.... who would say, if you need to paddle them paddle them", said Dothan City Schools Superintendent Dr. Chuck Ledbetter.


Dr. Ledbetter, before being superintendent in Dothan, taught between two major metropolitan areas in Georgia. He taught in Dublin which is between Atlanta and Savannah. He spent several years there, and is going into his second year here, and says the mentality is pretty much the same. Though paddling is allowed in nearly half the states in the union, it's definitely in the fabric of the south.

"If you take the way it is here and you moved it over there it's just the same", said Dr. Ledbetter.

Dr. Ledbetter mentioned the number of paddlings has gone down over the years but there are still those more traditional parents left, like the ones at Jerry Lee Faine that allow for teachers to discipline their students. Dr. Ledbetter went on to joke about how a paddling at school from a teacher is one thing but having to deal with his father was a whole other issue.

"I remember when I was in school and the teacher or the assistant principal says do you want me to call your dad or do you want to take a lick and it's like; let's get this done", said Dr. Ledbetter.

The Dothan City School handbook notes that parents must first give the school permission to use corporal punishment on their child. Dr. Ledbetter says that one thing is for certain, that the number of students being paddled is dropping and in part it's because more parents are becoming more involved in how their children are being disciplined.

"A lot of the time we're far better off getting parents involved than..... anything else we can do ", said Dr. Ledbetter.

If an administrator is given permission to use corporal punishment on a student, the handbook does note that a student is allowed a chance to explain themselves.

Corpun file 26476 at

Crossville News First, Tennessee, 15 September 2016

Tennessee school reinstates paddling policy, for boys only


A Middle Tennessee mother is fighting a corporal punishment policy at her son's high school.

She said it's not the hitting she's concerned with, but who is receiving the punishment.

Misty Kilburn said her son came home from Lawrence County High School with a letter stating the teacher in his construction trade class was going to reinstate corporal punishment due to misbehavior.

Kilburn said she was about to sign it until she learned it only applied to one gender.

The note reads in part: "Due to interruptions and discipline problems in trade classes, we are going to reinstate corporal punishment."

Kilburn didn't have a problem with the note, but then her son told her something else.

"The girls were sent into another classroom and the boys were the ones who had to write this out, and the girls were not to be included on the corporal punishment," she said.

Kilburn said she spoke with the assistant principal who told her the school stopped paddling females years ago.

"I believe they are dividing the females. They are saying it's OK for boys to get paddled but not girls. This is 2016. We are all equal. Let's move away from that," Kilburn said.

A spokeswoman for the school said she is looking into the issue and will provide a statement Thursday. She would not confirm or deny a permission slip went out.

A school board member said he too had heard about it, and plans to bring it up at Thursday's board meeting.

Meanwhile, Kilburn said she will not sign the permission slip unless the policy changes to include girls.

"It's like making the females a weaker sex. We are not weaker. We do the same jobs, we take the same classes," Kilburn said.

Tennessee is one of 19 states to still allow corporal punishment.

Corpun file 26477 at

ABC News logo (WKRN News 2), Nashville, Tennessee, 21 September 2016

Cheatham County votes to keep corporal punishment in classrooms

By Paige Hill

Wooden paddle
(Photo: WKRN)

CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) -- The Cheatham County school board has voted to keep corporal punishment as an option in the classroom.

Cheatham County principals got together and agreed most of them would not enforce the district corporal punishment policy.

So the board was ready to vote to do away with it until parents and members of the community came to them and asking board members to change their mind.

"They seem to think that it's a good deterrent for bad behavior and for disruptive students we want to provide the best educational experience we possibly can for all the students in Cheatham County and they're expected to behave, they're expected to not be disruptive in the classroom," said board member James Gupton.

"Knowing that it's out there provides a deterrent, a side of fear that it can happen," Gupton added.

Gupton said some parents have seen their kids generation after generation learn a good lesson from corporal punishment.

"They were actually laughing about it, they were talking about their 4th grade teacher, a man they really admire, a man they still communicate to this day with and he paddled every one of them," said Gupton. "They were laughing and joking about it and they were afraid to go to that next level because most of them didn't get paddled but once by that 4th grade teacher."

At the beginning of the year students are sent home with paperwork to opt in or opt out of corporal punishment.

Some say most parents in Cheatham County opt in. And the ones that opt out say it's because the school knows they can call them and they'll come to school and take care of it themselves.

On Thursday, Cheatham County Schools released a statement saying, "administrators and principals are trained in positive behavior support methods instead of utilizing corporal punishment. While the district has a policy that allows for corporal punishment, all principals do not plan to use that method of discipline. Instead, the principals will continue to focus on positive behavior methods to address any discipline issues involving students."

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