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School CP - May 2017

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NBC logo (KOAA-TV), Colorado Springs, Colorado, 5 May 2017

Report: 485 Colorado students spanked at school

It's a case that set off debate across southern Colorado this week: A Fremont County Sheriff's Deputy is charged with child abuse after he admitted to spanking his son with a belt over the weekend as discipline for lying. It left bruises on the child's buttocks. His wife is also charged for not stopping her husband.

Reaction to the story on the KOAA 5 Facebook page was sharply divided with many people commenting in support of the parents, while many others said striking a child in any form is abuse.

Professional groups such as the American Psychological Association and the National Association of School Psychologists oppose the use of corporal punishment. In fact, the APA argues that any physical discipline of a child can lead to behavioral problems.

Yet News 5 found that Colorado law doesn't apply such a rigorous standards when it come to student discipline in our public schools.

"I don't know that we permit it, we just don't want to say anything about it," State Representative Susan Lontine explained.

She introduced a bill in January that would have prohibited corporal punishment outright in all Colorado schools. It was defeated in the State Senate.

"Some folks believe spare the rod, spoil the child. But the research is clear, hitting kids does not have any positive effect and often has a negative effect," Lontine said.

A 2012 study by the U.S. Department of Education reported schools in Colorado spanked 485 students that year. Of the 19 states that still allow corporal punishment, Colorado is statistically one of the lowest, with fewer than one percent of children who receive that form of discipline.

But Lontine says the fact that it happens at all speaks to the need for change.

"We're just silent on the issue. So, a district could if they wanted to use corporal punishment," she said.

The debate over Lontine's bill seems to have come down to local control. Many school districts, including Fremont RE-1 in Canon City, expressly prohibit the use of corporal punishment.

The Colorado Department of Education requires schools to submit detailed safety plans. Those policy documents typically address the use of physical force to break up fights, for example. All schools must still abide by existing child abuse laws.

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Corpun file 26567 at


The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, 8 May 2017

School paddling ban fails in Louisiana House

Only 34 of 95 Louisiana representatives voted for the prohibition.

By The Associated Press


More than half of Louisiana's public school districts still will allow their schools to paddle and spank students for misbehavior after the state House on Monday (May 8) overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to ban corporal punishment across the districts.

Only 34 lawmakers voted for the prohibition bill by Rep. Barbara Norton, a Shreveport Democrat. Sixty-one lawmakers voted against the measure.

Norton said her proposal would make sure "that we not brutalize our children." She said 31 other states have outlawed such punishment and have found other ways to discipline students at school.

"I believe at the end of the day we're teaching our students about violence," she said.

Republican Rep. Rogers Pope, a retired school superintendent from Denham Springs, said local districts should decide whether to use corporal punishment, not the state.

"I still feel like we can do some things better at the local level," Pope said.

In Louisiana law, discretion to use the disciplinary method specifically rests with local school boards. Thirty-eight of the state's 69 public school districts allow schools to use corporal punishment, according to Scott Richard, executive director of the state school boards association.

Lafayette Rep. Nancy Landry, the Republican chairwoman of the House Education Committee, cast the tie-breaking vote to move the bill to the House floor for consideration. She said she didn't oppose use of corporal punishment but supported the prohibition proposal because state law includes no safeguards for students.

She said male administrators shouldn't be allowed to spank female students and parental permission should be required before schools can use corporal punishment. She said a second adult should be present when the punishment is administered and the student shouldn't have to remove any clothing before being paddled.

"There's no requirement that these safeguards be in local policy," Landry said.

The Louisiana School Boards Association and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools told lawmakers in committee debate that decisions on whether to allow corporal punishment should be left to local districts and schools.

Though they shelved Norton's bill, lawmakers in the House have unanimously backed another proposal by Rep. Franklin Foil, a Baton Rouge Republican, to prohibit corporal punishment of students with disabilities. Gov. John Bel Edwards is pushing that more limited ban, which awaits consideration in the Senate Education Committee.

All districts in greater New Orleans ban the practice. However, charter schools may allow it, if the boards authorizing their contracts agree. As of December, Smothers Academy in Jefferson Parish was the only charter in the New Orleans area with a corporal punishment policy in its student handbook, Recovery School District spokeswoman Laura Hawkins said.

Reporting contributed by | The Times-Picayune staff writer Danielle Dreilinger

Copyright 2017, The Associated Press

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