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School CP - October 2017

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Pharos Tribune, Logansport, Indiana, 11 October 2017

Pioneer school board discusses corporal punishment policy

Pioneer schools superintendent says current policy is inconsistent

By Ben Middelkamp
Staff reporter


ROYAL CENTER -- Pioneer Regional School Board members are discussing whether to change the district's policy regarding the use of corporal punishment on students.

The issue was brought up at the Tuesday, Oct. 10, board meeting. Pioneer Superintendent Chuck Grable told board members about inconsistencies in the district's policy that was originally approved in 1993. Pioneer Elementary School principal Beth Dean and a couple elementary teachers voiced their support of the existing policy during the meeting.

The policy states the board "cannot condone the use of unreasonable force and fear as an appropriate procedure in student discipline," but adds "corporal punishment may be administered only as a last resort and only in accordance with the Superintendent's administrative guidelines."

Grable said the administrative guideline provides alternatives to corporal punishment and states "personnel shall not threaten to inflict, or cause to be inflicted corporal punishment on any student." He said most Indiana schools banned corporal punishment about 15 years ago.

According to U.S. Department of Education data, Indiana is one of 22 states that allow corporal punishment in school. Indiana doesn't prohibit the practice, while 15 states expressly permit it.

"This is a matter of protecting our own staff from lawsuits," Grable told the board. "And the bottom line is there's better strategies. I've heard a couple of times, this sets us apart from others. To me, this is not what I want to be known for that sets us apart from other school districts. We want to be about relationships."

The board on Tuesday decided to wait on making a decision after hearing from both sides of the issue. Many board members questioned the use of corporal punishment on students and the liability of the policy. Lisa Kesling, board member, said she wants to first research how other Indiana schools handle corporal punishment and if any schools were sued because of it.

"If it was just me, I wouldn't care, I would do what I want and I would suffer the consequences," Kesling said. "But it's not just me, it's the whole school corporation, it's Dr. Dean's license. There's a lot more at stake."

Dean said she uses a "strike three" policy for student behavior issues. When a student comes to the principal's office for the first time, Dean talks with them about what they did wrong. The second time, she gives a reminder, and the "third strike" means Dean will "paddle" a student.

For each offense, Dean said she gives a note to parents about the punishment. Dean said she usually has multiple conversations with parents before "strike three," and once it gets to that point, she gives parents the option to either take their child home or for her to paddle the student in the presence of a witness.

"Our culture here is that our parents trust us to take care of things," Dean said. "I don't relish the fact of ever having to paddle a student."

So far this school year, Dean said she's paddled one student for kicking a teacher. She said the corporal punishment typically extends to only a "handful" of students per school year. Ever since Grable recently told principals to not use corporal punishment until the board decides how to proceed, Dean said three parents have asked her to paddle their students if they don't behave.

"It's not something that we do every day," Dean said. "It's something that we can keep over the kids' heads because they don't want to be paddled."

The teachers who attended the Tuesday meeting said they've had issues with parents saying they're going to discipline their child at home after an issue at school but not following through, adding that they've had more students not respecting teachers this year than in the past.

Caston School Corp. Superintendent Cindy Douglass and Logansport Community School Corp. Superintendent Michele Starkey said their districts prohibit corporal punishment.

Lewis Cass Schools' policy states "corporal punishment shall be used only in exceptional cases after other means of discipline have failed." Superintendent Tim Garland said it's been several years since any Lewis Cass principal or assistant principal has paddled a student.

Grable said there are better alternatives to behavior issues than paddling, such as in-school suspension and out-of-school suspension. He said the corporation needs to reevaluate its Response to Intervention, or RTI, plan of disciplining students. Grable said he wants to enact a corporation-wide character education curriculum.

Dean said she doesn't want to give students out-of-school suspension since that takes them out of the school building, which some of them want. Last year, the school had an employee supervise in-school suspension on Fridays, but this year, the school doesn't have anyone in that position.

"Whatever you want to do, we'll go with it and make it work," Dean told the board, "but we want to have a little bit more help with ISS or other things if paddling is taken off the shelf."

In other news, the board also:


Corpun file 26632 at


Times Free Press, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 19 October 2017

Hamilton County Schools superintendent: Corporal punishment may be phased out

By Rosana Hughes

Hamilton County schools are re-evaluating their disciplinary approach this year.

"I'm not a believer in corporal punishment," schools Superintendent Bryan Johnson said Wednesday during the Hamilton County PTA Council's "State of Our Schools" meeting. "But, I understand the system has [been doing] that."

Johnson said a complete halt to physical punishment, such as paddling, has not yet been implemented, but he expects the number of instances to drop now that administrators know it's not something he and his team support.

"We are not in a place at the moment to just completely stop the practice, but we are looking at doing that," he said.

Last school year, the district had 270 instances of corporal punishment recorded, with one school -- Tyner Middle Academy -- accounting for 69 percent of those with 186 instances. A regular school year in Tennessee is 180 days, according to the state department of education.

Director of Student Services Marsha Drake said she thought the number was high, but more research would have to be done to determine if it was 186 different students or if all or a large portion of students participated in the same misbehavior.

Drake also pointed out that many parents at Tyner Middle request administrators to discipline their children in that form in order to avoid a suspension, which could cause the parent to have to take time out of work to stay home with the child.

Instances of corporal punishment

2016 / 2017
Bess T. Shepherd Elementary: 1

Brown Middle School: 4

Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence: 43

Clifton Hills Elementary School: 3

Hillcrest Elementary School: 1

Orchard Knob Elementary School: 2

Orchard Knob Middle School: 2

Red Bank Elementary School: 6

Soddy Daisy Middle School: 1

Tommie F. Brown International Academy: 19

Tyner Middle Academy: 186

Woodmore Elementary School: 2

2015 / 2016
Big Ridge Elementary School: 2

Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence: 9

Daisy Elementary School: 1

East Brainerd Elementary School: 1

Hixson Elementary School: 1

Loftis Middle School: 3

Nolan Elementary School: 2

Orchard Knob Elementary School: 1

Orchard Knob Middle School: 27

Red Bank Elementary School: 7

Red Bank High School: 1

Tommie F. Brown International Academy: 25

Tyner Middle Academy: 161

Woodmore Elementary School: 17

2014 / 2015
Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence: 12

Daisy Elementary School: 1

Harrison Elementary School: 8

Hillcrest Elementary School: 9

Hixson High School: 1

Lakeside Academy: 6

Ooltewah Middle School: 1

Orchard Knob Elementary School: 11

Orchard Knob Middle School: 92

Soddy Daisy High School: 1

The Howard School: 1

Tommie F. Brown International Academy: 13

Tyner Middle Academy: 1

Woodmore Elementary School: 18

Source: Hamilton County Department of Education

The topic came up at the PTA meeting after an audience member pointed out that teachers and administrators might be concerned with the rise in suspensions since "the discipline level has been changed, adjusted a little bit."

Johnson said the effort to phase out corporal punishment is part of his initiative to better address the social and emotional needs of students.

"We have more and more students that have social and emotional needs, and we have to make sure we address those before we can even address the instruction," he said.

As an example, Johnson said, "if a middle school kid is using the restroom on his or herself, to paddle that kid is probably not the right approach."

He said if a child at that age has that problem, it's probably an indicator for something more severe, one of them being sexual abuse.

"There's always a reason a student is misbehaving," he said. "Kids aren't just bad. ... There's usually something behind that."

Drake said they are in the process of developing a system-wide behavior and classroom management plan.

"So that we can take a more hands-on approach, develop more of a relationship, getting to know our kids more," she said. "So that they are engaged and in a place where they can learn and others around them are learning, and corporal punishment is phased out completely within Hamilton County."

Drake said she expects it to be phased out within the next year or so.

Karen Glenn, director for Students Taking A Right Stand, said there are several initiatives to better prepare teachers and administrators on how to deal with problem behavior and create a positive relationship with students. Several schools have gone through the training now, which started about a year-and-a-half ago.

"Student behavior is all about creating a holistic school climate where unacceptable behavior doesn't thrive," she said.

School leaders are being trained to highlight positive behavior rather than negative behavior, Glenn said.

"Sometimes students may misbehave because they want to get attention, so we're giving attention to the positive and not so much the negative, in hopes that some of that negative behavior is going to fizzle out," she said.

Some of the professional development for school personnel includes restorative practices and a program called Love and Logic. Both practices are empathy-based training, in which students are taught how their actions affect others and are given a chance to repair the harm.

"When there's just punishment alone, that's not going to be an effective strategy to deter the behavior," Glenn said. "But we're looking at how to correct the behavior and how to not have those repeat offenses."

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