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School CP - March 2018

Corpun file 26664 at

Lexington Herald Leader, Kentucky, 2 March 2018


These Kentucky schools still spank kids who misbehave. Is ittime for that to end?

By Valarie Honeycutt Spears

Map of Kentucky

Legislation has been introduced in the General Assembly thatwould end corporal punishment in schools in Kentucky, a statewhere students were paddled or spanked 334 times in 2016-17, downfrom 517 the year before.

With 17 school districts presently using the practice underthe current law, legislators have in years past told theHerald-Leader they don't have much interest in banning thepractice statewide. Nor does Yvonne Gilliam, the Superintendentof Bell County Public Schools, want to lose it as a disciplinaryoption. There were 100 incidents of corporal punishment reportedin that district in 2016-17.

But state Rep. Steve Riley, R-Glasgow, thinks it's time forthe practice to stop.

"I'm not sure it's an effective punishment anymore," said Riley. "There can be some debate aboutwhether it once was. There are so many other things the schoolcan do that allow for learning but yet still get the attention of students."

"For teachers and administrators, I really don't know whyyou would want to take the risk of doing that," Riley said."Not only as a teacher do I not think it would be helpful,but also you are putting yourself in a legal situation whereby Ithink it could be detrimental to you and your profession and yourschool system."

House Bill 375, co-sponsored by House Education CommitteeChairman state Rep. John Carney, R-Campbellsville , says thatschool administrators, teachers or other certified personnel,office staff, instructional assistants, and coaches andextracurricular sponsors who are employed by a school districtshall not use corporal physical discipline, including the use ofspanking, shaking, or paddling, as a means of punishment,discipline, behavior modification, or for any other reason.

In Kentucky, the decision to use corporal punishment is madeat the district level. It is not used in Fayette County, butseveral school districts see it as an option to maintain order.

Seven districts used it less than 10 times, and 3 districtsused it more than 35 times in 2016-17, according to data fromKentucky Youth Advocates.

"We do find it very effective in establishing a safelearning environment for all of our students. We need to insurethat all students are safe," Gilliam, the BellSuperintendent said. "That is a disciplinary tool that someof our principals use. We allow principals to use discretion ifthey think it's appropriate. We don't mandate corporal punishment."

Schools have to obtain parental permission first, and try togive students in all instances an alternative, Gilliam said. Thatcould include an in-school or out-of-school suspension.

In Bell County, the person administering corporal punishmenthas to be the same gender of the student receiving thepunishment, and a certified staff member must witness the incident.

"We have very safe schools. I would like to maintain theability to use every tool possible to maintain a safe learningenvironment for our students," said Gilliam.

Gilliam said she thought that the incidents of corporalpunishment in Bell County had declined in 2017-18 as they did theyear before, although exact new numbers were not immediately available.

"It's used on a very limited basis," she said.

Pulaski County Schools, where officials didn't immediatelyrespond to a request for comment, reported the second-highestnumber of corporal punishment incidents at 53, and Pike CountySchools at 36 in 2016-17.

The 2016-17 Safe Schools Annual Statistical Report shows thatin-school removal was the most frequently reported disciplineresolution for all three school years since 2014-15 in Kentucky.For the 2016-17 school year, 78.2 percent of behavior eventsresulted in an in-school removal from the student's regularinstructional setting; 21.6 percent of behavior events resultedin an out-of-school suspension; and less than 1 percent ofbehavior events resulted in an expulsion or corporal punishment.The use of corporal punishment has declined since the 2014-15 school year.

In school year 2016-17, there were 334 instances of corporalpunishment reported, compared to 517 for school year 2015-16 and574 for school year 2014-15.

As of 2016-17, only 17 of Kentucky's 173 public schooldistricts reported use of corporal punishment, which is down from25 in school year 2015-16.

Mostly white males receive corporal punishment in Kentucky,according to the statistics. Thirty-seven of the incidents in2016-17 involved females. Six of the 334 incidents statewideinvolved black students.

Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates,has supported a ban on corporal punishment in Kentucky schools for years.

"There are few ideas that are bad from every angle butcorporal punishment fits that bill," said Brooks."First, it is neither effective as a behavioral managementtechnique nor as a school safety measure. You have to wonderwhether those who still use this method are taking a lazy way outor simply don't know better. As an educator of three decades; asa grandpa of public school students; and, as an advocate forkids, there is not an issue more vital than school discipline andcorporal punishment actually is counterproductive to encouragingpositive student behavior and overall campus safety."

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt, in general,"does not support corporal punishment as an effectivediscipline method in schools. He is still in the process ofreviewing the specifics of HB 375," said Kentucky Departmentof Education spokeswoman Nancy Rodriguez.

Corpun file 26670 at

Pine Bluff Commercial, Arkansas, 13 March 2018

Watson Chapel School Board votes to arm guard



Due to a recent phone threat, The Watson Chapel School Boardvoted unanimously at a board meeting Monday night to allow WatsonChapel School District Security Guard Willie Edwards to carry afirearm while on duty.


In other news, the board voted unanimously for the expulsionof a Watson Chapel Junior High School student. The student willbe expelled for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year forallegedly possessing a BB gun with an attached red beam laser. Noone was present on behalf of the student.

During the board meeting, Dovie Burl, school culture andclimate specialist, announced that the Department of Justice willbe visiting the Watson Chapel School District March 14-15 fortheir annual review of the agreed Consent Decree which was put inplace December 2016.

Due to a 1970 civil rights lawsuit for disproportionality andunfair treatment of blacks and minority students in the district,the Department of Justice mandated a change in how students areto be disciplined.

Based on discipline data, the Department of Justice made avisit in November 2015 to WCSD to discuss the number ofdisciplines of blacks and minority students, including Special Edstudents compared to other students.

At that time, corporal punishmentwas taken out of the district as a means of punitive punishment.A consent decree was established with mandates for the districtto implement changes. Those changes include implementing PBIS(Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports), as well asRestorative Justice Practices, and building strongerrelationships with students through RTI (Response to Intervention).

"This year's district-wide behavior expectation willfocus on ROAR (Respectful, Organized, Attentive, andResponsible)," Burl said. "The Roll-out for PBIS beganin August 2017, and we are anticipating a good report from theDOJ with all of the initiatives that have been put inplace."

© GateHouse Media Publications

Corpun file 26675 at

logo (WBRC FOX6 News), Birmingham, Alabama, 16 March 2018

Attorneys: Judge should drop Attalla administrator's felony child abuse charges

By Dixon Hayes, Reporter

ATTALLA, AL (WBRC) -- An Etowah County judge will decide in acouple of weeks whether to drop felony child abuse chargesagainst an Attalla school administrator.

Vice Principal Nathan Ayers is free on bond on that charge,and still acting in his capacity at Etowah Middle School. He wascharged in December 2016 after a paddling left severe bruising on a student.

Circuit Judge William Ogletree held a day long hearing ondefense attorneys' motion to drop that charge based on a statelaw saying school administrators have "absoluteimmunity" in situations in which the school board's policieswere followed correctly.

Attorneys called the school's principal, Jeffrey Johnson, tothe stand to testify about the paddling, which he saw.

Johnson said the student was being punished for making anobscene gesture to another student as school let out the daybefore. He said he gave the student a choice between detentionand a paddling, and he chose the paddling.

Johnson said he told the student to lean over the principal'sdesk and place his hands on the desk. After taking the firstlick, he says the student said, "Ooh! Shot!"

The student explained he had gotten a shot in the left side ofhis behind shortly before -- and lifted his shorts to show theshot. The principal then gave him the option of a second lick orhalf detention, and he says the student say he'd take the secondlick. Ayers administered both.

Johnson says there were efforts to contact the student'smother and the student acknowledged seeing those attempts. Hesays surveillance video in the school shows the student walkingback to class without rubbing his behind, grimacing or showingany other amount of pain.

The criminal investigation, he says, began the following weekwhen the student's mother confronted Ayers at the school withpictures of the student's hindquarters.

Dr. Melissa Peters, a Children's Hospital doctor whosespecialties include child abuse injuries, testified that thepolice photos of the injuries showed deep, severe bruising thatshe characterized as blood coming up from deep to the surface ofthe skin. She testified she was surprised to hear the child hadonly been struck by the paddle twice.

Under cross examination, she admitted she also would have beensurprised to hear he rode his bicycle for a couple of hourssometime shortly after the incident but said it would not havechanged her determination that the student was a victim of child abuse.

In closing arguments, Jim Turnbach, a school board attorneywho is part of the defense team, argued Ayers had"absolute immunity" since the student handbookexplains in detail the procedure for administering corporalpunishment and Ayers followed it correctly. Prosecutor CarolGriffith argued the jury should determine whether Ayers crossed a line.

Ogletree says he will make his ruling after further filingsfrom both sets of attorneys.

Copyright 2018 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 26667 at

The Alexander City Outlook, Alabama, 28 March 2018

Teacher cleared in corporal punishment suit

By Mitch Sneed

A jury found in favor of a teacher who padded a student atReeltown with a paddle similar to the one shown in this photoillustration back in 2016. The boy received deep bruises afterreceiving two licks for walking down a hallway that he had beentold not to use.

A Tallapoosa County jury in Dadeville found a student, who wasa 14-year-old freshman at the time, who was bruised after beingpaddled by a teacher at Reeltown High School in 2016 was notentitled to any damages.

The jury delivered a verdict in favor of Reeltown AgriculturalScience teacher Clint Burgess who was sued in 2016 after paddlinga student in October of that year. The complaint alleged that theminor male student, who is now 16, whose injuries consisted ofbruising on his buttocks as a result of the paddling.

"Obviously (Burgess) is relieved by the jury'sverdict," said Attorney Mark Allen Treadwell, whorepresented Burgess in the suit. "While it's unfortunatethat the student was bruised, there was no evidence of severeinjuries, intent to do harm, or any monetary, physical oremotional damages."

The jury saw multiple photos of the bruising caused as aresult of the paddling after being placed into evidence by thestudent's attorney James R. "Bobby" Bowles. The images,which were taken by the child's mother the night after thepaddling, showed deep purple and red bruising that covered amajority of the young man's buttocks.

The student testified and said that he did go down a hallwaythat he had been told not to use. He testified, often biting hisnails out of nervousness, that he liked Burgess, was still in hisclass and wasn't afraid of him.

"Other than going to the nurse to be checked out a fewdays after you got the two licks, did you have any majorproblems?" Treadwell asked.

"No sir," the boy said.

"So the nurse that you saw, did she give you a shot, anymedication, apply cold compresses?" Treadwell asked the boy.

"No sir," he said.

"So you got two licks for doing something that youweren't supposed to be doing and that was about it, right?"Treadwell asked.

"Yes sir," the student answered,

Tallapoosa County Schools do have a policy in place wherecorporal punishment including paddling can be used. The use ispermitted on several conditions, including how it should bewitnessed, what which kind of offenses can be punished withpaddling, how the incident must be reported and that it not causebodily injury.

Parents can request that their children not be disciplinedwith corporal punishment. In this case, the mother of the boytestified hadn't done that, but did sign a document stating thather children were not to be paddled the day after the incident.

Bowles used testimony to show that in this case, those schoolboard's procedures were not strictly followed.

Burgess said he didn't intend to do bodily harm, and said whenhe saw pictures of the deep bruises that he still didn't think hehad injured the boy.

Burgess did admit the written procedures outlined by theschool board were not completely followed and that he had beendisciplined by Reeltown Principal Tom Cochran.

Burgess admitted that no report was made documenting the useof corporal punishment. The administration was not notified thatthe student had been paddled. The student's parent was notnotified by Burgess. All those things appeared to be out of stepwith the school system's policy.

What was his punishment for failing to follow policy?

"I am no longer allowed to administer corporalpunishment," Burgess said.

Burgess, who still has the boy in his class, said he has noregrets about the incident.

Cochran testified that he didn't get a report of the incidentfrom Burgess or fellow teacher Mona Coan who had witnessed thepaddling. He also said he didn't do a report to keep on file. Allof those appear to be required in the board's policy.

After answering questions about the handling of the incident,Bowles asked Cochran to look at the pictures that depicted theboys' bruised buttocks after the paddling and tell the jury if hethought those were injuries.

"I would admit it was bruised," Cochran said."In a perfect world you wouldn't want that to occuranywhere."

School Resources Officer Jason Cowart also testified that hehad investigated the incident which was reported as child abuse.Cowart said even though he was unable to retrieve video of thepaddling because cameras were down, he did present his findingsafter interviewing all involved to a grand jury. The group didnot return an indictment in the case.

© 2018, The Alexander City Outlook

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