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School CP - February 2017

Corpun file 26523 at

The Wilson Post, Tennessee, 9 February 2017

School Board bans paddling

By Laurie Everett


Paddling, as a form of discipline will no longer be allowed in Wilson County Schools effective next school year after the School Board voted to abolish it Monday night.

The vote to omit the corporal punishment option from the system's Code of Conduct was 5-2 with Chair Larry Tomlinson and board member Bill Robinson casting "no" votes.

Dr. Donna Wright said this form of punishment has not been used in 15 years, but still was in the code.

The language in the School System's current Code of Conduct related to corporal punishment (which is allowed in the Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) has 10 protocols. The code states that a student be given a choice of corporal punishment or another disciplinary measure the principal or teacher deems appropriate. The "paddling" should be done in the presence of another member of the staff and by "striking the student with an open hand or wooden paddle across the buttocks and in no other manner." The number of "licks" inflicted cannot exceed three. It also states the paddling must be done in a "humane" manner.

Wright said the Student Code of Conduct is reviewed annually prior to the new school year and in going through the corporal punishment section she asked the board to take out the procedures and to simply take the district stance to one line, she said.

"I prefaced to say that we had not had an incident where corporal punishment had been used since I had been here and it might be something to discuss."

There was a workshop last Thursday and more discussion Monday at the Board meeting.

It was revealed Wilson County was just one of a few systems which still have paddling in the Code of Conduct, with Metro and the rest without corporal punishment available.

Other available forms of discipline include in-school and out-of-school suspension, expulsion, or MAP (Modified Academic Program), disciplinary hearings, and more.

Board member Wayne McNeese voted to abolish corporal punishment with some reservations.

"If we abolish it, and we did, now the kids might go to out of school suspension or MAP," he said. "Now parents will have to miss work to take the child to MAP, or stay at home with the child and it puts a burden on them. And, I'm not sure about the effectiveness of in-school suspension. It's hard to get rid of it, but I think it's the lesser of two evils."

McNeese said he was "old school."

"I believe in the old adage, 'spare the rod, spoil the child,' but the schools are not in the position to spare the rod. In today's litigious society, it concerns me."

And, McNeese said if he were a teacher or principal, he would not want to be the one to administer a paddling. He also said if corporal punishment had not been used in years, why keep it in the Code of Conduct.

Wright said she was not a proponent of corporal punishment and "never has been."

"I was a classroom teacher for many years and never had to resort to paddling students to correct behavior," she said. "I was pleased it passed to take it out."

In reference to out of school suspension that most students prefer, Wright said, "We are working hard to change behaviors in students where we do not rely on removing them from school, which does not solve the initial problem of bad behavior or bad decision making."

She's more for in-school suspension as a disciplinary measure.

"Where students are held accountable for their work and making sure there is someone in ISS that can assist the student in their work," she said. "Too many times we have used ISS as a place to 'hold' students and not allow them to stay caught up or have someone in the classroom who tutor or provide assistance. Kids would much rather go home as opposed to being assigned to ISS."

Tomlinson voted to keep corporal punishment in the Code of Conduct, but said he understands if it had not been used it "doesn't need to be in there."

However, he said he has reservations because he believes there has got to be "some consequences."

"Corporal punishment has never been a problem in Wilson County schools because we have good kids and parents. Yes, there are some hiccups."

Tomlinson said why he voted not to take paddling out as an option is because, in part, he's worried about out of school suspensions with students not in the classroom.

"They'd rather be home and it is our job to make sure they get the best education we can."

He wants now to revisit the issue and find alternatives rather than sending students home.


Copyright © 2013 by The Wilson Post

Corpun file 26524 at


Lexington Herald-Leader, Kentucky, 21 February 2017


Bill would end paddling in last of Kentucky schools

State Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, has introduced a bill that would prohibit paddling in public schools.

By Valarie Honeycutt Spears

Corporal punishment, or paddling, which is legal in Kentucky public schools, would be prohibited under a bill introduced in the General Assembly by Rep. Jim Wayne.

School administrators, teachers and other staff, and school districts would be prohibited from using corporal punishment under House Bill 393.

Corporal physical discipline under the legislation means "the deliberate infliction of physical pain and does not include spontaneous physical contact which is intended to protect a child from immediate danger."

Currently, each school district makes its own decision about corporal punishment. 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.

Corporal punishment is fading as a disciplinary method in Kentucky public schools, dropping from 3,075 incidents in 2005 to 517 in 2015-2016, according to the latest available data.

About 25 school districts used corporal punishment last year, including Bell, Pike, Clinton, Pulaski and McCreary counties.

In Bell County, parents of misbehaving students often request that their children be paddled instead of getting suspended and losing time in the classroom, a school official told the Herald-Leader last year.

Wayne, D-Louisville, said he filed the bill at the request of students in his district who had attended a mock government program called Kentucky Youth Assembly. Legislation prohibiting corporal punishment passed in the mock government program, Wayne said.

Students are gathering in the Capitol rotunda in Frankfort at 9 a.m. Feb. 28 to rally for the bill, Wayne said.

Wayne, a psychotherapist, said he had worked in schools for years and thinks that corporal punishment is not effective.

"Corporal punishment gives the wrong message to children in how to manage their impulses and their behavior," he said

The bill also establishes that church-related privately operated child-caring agencies or homes are prohibited from using corporal physical discipline.

blob Note: The bill later died in committee -- C.F.

Corpun file 26526 at

NPR logo

WUNC (North Carolina Public Radio), Chapel Hill, 23 February 2017

At Opposite Ends Of The State, Two NC Schools Keep Paddling Alive

Jess Clark reports on two schools on opposite sides of North Carolina that still use corporal punishment.

Corporal punishment is still a legal practice in North Carolina schools. But today there are just two districts in the state where educators still inflict pain on students as a form of discipline.

One is down east in Robeson County. The other is in the mountains of Graham County in western North Carolina. Both districts have school principals who still believe in the power of the paddle.

In Graham County, The Only High School Principal Who Still Paddles

Robbinsville High School sits in a small gap in the Smoky Mountains. Green slopes dotted with a few cattle hug in around the school before they rise into a thick cover of pine trees. If there's one word to describe this area, it would be "isolated."

David Matheson is the principal of Robbinsville High school. And he's the only high school principal in the state that still uses corporal punishment. At Robbinsville, corporal punishment takes the form of paddling -- a few licks on the behind with a long wooden paddle, delivered by Matheson. Last year, he paddled 22 students.

The school's policy allows students to request a paddling in place of in-school-suspension, or ISS. Matheson said this practice keeps students in the classroom.

"Most kids will tell you that they choose the paddling so they don't miss class. And even though they get their work in ISS ... it's still not like being in the classroom in front of the teacher," Matheson said.

The paddle Robbinsville High School principal David Matheson, and previous principals, have used to discipline students. Jess Clark / WUNC

Robbinsville senior Allison Collins said she chose to be paddled her sophomore year, after her phone went off in class.

"That's like my first time ever being in trouble!" she said.

Collins went to the assistant principal's office, where she was told she had a day of ISS. Collins told Principal Matheson she'd rather take a paddling, and Matheson called her father to get his permission.

"And my dad was like, 'Just paddle her.' Because down here in the mountains, we do it the old-school way," she said.

Matheson said he only paddles a student if he gets permission from the parent. Very few parents opt out, he said.

"I think that's one of the reasons so many parents are good with it," he said. "It's not something where I'm saying 'Hey this is how I'm going to deal with your child.' It's something that the family decides."

In the band room, Robbinsville parent Cheri Lynn was substitute teaching on a recent day. She also coaches the school's shooting team. Lynn said she and many other Robbinsville families support the use of corporal punishment in school.

"I think it goes back to traditional values," she said. "A lot of parents still hold to the traditional values of corporal punishment. They use it at home, and so the school is an extension of home."

"I feel like if it was used more often in our schools we'd have a whole lot better society. I do. I believe that." -- Robbinsville High School Principal David Matheson

In a small, isolated and tight-knit community like the one in Graham County, it's not hard to see why families might have more trust in their school administrators than families in other districts. Matheson grew up here and went to school with a lot of his students' parents.

Still not everyone at Robbinsville is onboard.

In a classroom down the hall, student teacher Beau Cronland was taking a breather between classes. Cronland said he's not comfortable with the school's use of the paddle.

"Last semester, one of my freshman did get spanked, and that's how I knew they did corporal punishment here," he said. Cronland said the student's infraction was talking in class.

"Kids talk. I don't think they should get spanked for it or paddled," he said.

There are decades of research showing corporal punishment leads to bad outcomes for students: higher drop-out rates, increased rates of depression and substance abuse, and increased violent episodes down the road. It's also shown that, like other forms of discipline, corporal punishment is disproportionately inflicted on students of color and students with disabilities. Matheson said he's seen that research, but he still believes paddling is an effective form of discipline.

"I feel like if it was used more often in our schools we'd have a whole lot better society. I do. I believe that," he said.

In Robeson County, Parents and School Staff Hang On To Longstanding Tradition

More than three hundred miles east, mountain forests give way to the flat sandy lowlands of Robeson County. Last year at Prospect Elementary School, staff paddled 31 students.

Just down the road from the school, Prospect parent Venus Maynor was in his driveway working on a truck he owns for his waste removal business on a recent day.

Maynor said his son Orrie got paddled in second grade for running outside of the line in the hall with another boy.

"I trust the teachers and the principal to do what's right." -- Prospect Elementary parent Venus Maynor

"The teacher, she pulled him back in line. She said 'Hey we're going to paddle you for not doing what we asked you to do'," he said. "And of course she made good on her promise. She paddled him when they got back to the room with a witness."

State law requires a teacher or administrator to serve as a witness to uses of corporal punishment.

Maynor supports the use of paddling in school. He said he believes paddling or spanking is an important part of raising a child. He points to tall tree on the edge of his property.

"If you go to that big pine tree over there -- that mature pine on the ditch there. You can't do anything but cut it down. There's no sway in that tree," he said. "If you start early with that sapling over there, you can tie a string to it and pull it, and it's going to grow the way you tie the string. And in respects to raising a child, it's the same way."

It's not unusual for parents to support the use of corporal punishment as a form of discipline. Recent surveys show about 75 percent of Americans believe it's sometimes necessary to spank a child. What is unusual is that these parents support corporal punishment in school. That's where Tom Vitaglione of child-advocacy group NC Child takes issue with the practice.

"When it gets to schools, we now have an agent of the state hitting a child," he said. "And we don't believe that should happen, and that cultural issues should not override that perspective."

It's safe to say, most parents at Prospect Elementary and Robbinsville High School don't see school staff as agents of the state. These are both tight-knit communities. Graham is one of the most geographically isolated counties in the state. And Prospect Elementary is a majority Lumbee Indian school in the state's oldest and most established Lumbee community. Maynor, who is Lumbee, said he has a rare degree of trust in Prospect Elementary school staff.

"I do. I trust the teachers and the principal to do what's right," he said.

Still, even in these two communities, paddling is on the decline. Last year, both districts cut their number of paddlings in half. Statewide, total paddlings statewide fell from 147 from 2014 to 2015, to around 70 from 2015 to 2016. That's a fraction of the 679 paddlings delivered from 2008 to 2009. It's an even smaller fraction of the thousands of students who are paddled each year in other states where corporal punishment is legal. In Mississippi for example, more than 32,000 students experienced corporal punishment from 2011 to 2012.

NC Child's Vitaglione and other child advocates would like there to be zero paddlings in North Carolina. They're asking state legislators to outlaw the practice in schools for good.

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