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School CP - December 2018

Corpun file 26764 at www.corpun.com

Bowling Green Daily News, Kentucky, 9 December 2018

Our opinion

Use of corporal punishment should be local choice

State Rep. Steve Riley, R-Glasgow, has filed a bill for theupcoming session that would ban corporal punishment in all publicschools in the state.

Riley's bill, if passed, would remove corporal punishment as aform of discipline in all schools and church-related, privatelyoperated child-caring agencies or facilities.

State law does not mandate the use of corporal punishment.Instead, school districts can individually determine policy.Currently, 17 school districts in Kentucky still use corporalpunishment. During the 2016-17 school year, there were 334incidents of corporal punishment in these districts.

Under Riley's proposal, "school administrators, teachersor other certified personnel, office staff, instructionalassistants and coaches and extracurricular sponsors who areemployed by a school district shall not use corporal physicaldiscipline, including the use of spanking, shaking or paddling,as a means of punishment, discipline, behavior modification, orfor any other reason."

It is obviously Riley's prerogative to file this bill, as hefiled the same legislation last session. The legislation he filedlast year went nowhere during the 60-day session.

While we respect Riley -- who was a career educator beforeentering politics -- and admire him for some very good things hehas done in the legislature, we just flat-out disagree with himon this particular issue.

We disagree with Riley's bill for two reasons.

First, we believe there are some parents in this state whosimply don't discipline their kids. They let them get away withtoo many things and don't teach their kids any limits. Instead ofdoing their parental duties, they ship them off to public schoolsfor teachers to deal with. In many cases, teachers have one handtied behind their backs in dealing with some of these kids whocontinually cause disturbances in their classrooms, using foullanguage toward them and showing no respect for these teachers.

With continued disturbances in the classroom, administratorsshould have the option to discipline a student, including bypaddling or spanking after several warnings are given to thatstudent. Perhaps after this disciplinary action is taken, thestudent will think twice about causing disturbances in theclassroom or talking back or using foul language to a teacher.

Finally, the decision to allow corporal punishment in schoolsshould be a local decision. Local school teachers andadministrators see every day what is going on in their schoolsbetter than someone in Frankfort. Local school boards should makethe decision to allow or not allow corporal punishment. In fact,the main negative feedback Riley received last session wasexactly what we just mentioned.

At the end of the day, we don't by any means believeadministrators enjoy paddling or spanking children, but we dobelieve that in some cases there is still a need for corporalpunishment in public schools in our state. That's why we supportthe continued use of this practice in these schools if localschool boards make that choice.

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