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School CP - December 2004
The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi, 2 December 2004
No discipline in schools? Expect more basket brawls
By now, everyone's familiar with the infamous basket-brawl that took
Unfortunately, this is simply a sign of the times. We have found ourselves in a society where people aren't afraid of authority. A time where
folks don't fear consequences.
And who's suffering? Our youth.
You've done nothing more than promote lawlessness in our classrooms.
today walk through the doors on Day 1 of each school year knowing
they can't be touched. They can basically do or say anything with
only minor repercussions.
And you want to blame hip-hop? No, sir can't let you do it.
lies with administrators who let parents scare them with
lawsuits. The blame lies with lawmakers who won't make teachers'
Kamikaze is a Jackson-based rapper.
The Tennessean, Nashville, 4 December 2004
Midstate briefs: Rutherford County
Policy to let parents decide on paddling
By Clay Carey
The Rutherford County Board of Education has unanimously approved changes to the school system's corporal-punishment policy.
Under the new policy, parents will decide at the beginning of the school year whether or not corporal punishment can be used on their children, and parents can also opt to be notified if school administrators are considering paddling their children. The policy revision mandates that only principals or vice principals can hand out corporal punishment.
The new policy, which was quickly approved by the school board without discussion Thursday night, will be implemented at the beginning of the next school year, according to school system spokesman James Evans.
At that time, parents will receive a form in the student handbook that will allow them to inform the school system whether they want their child paddled, and if they want school administrators to notify them beforehand.
The school board initiated the policy change after the family of a Rock Springs Middle School student sued the system claiming that a paddling the 14-year-old received at the school last year left significant bruises.
© Copyright 2004 The Tennessean A Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper
Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, 5 December 2004
Why ban what so many want?
By Noel G.L. Hutchinson Jr.
Experts have critiqued it. Teachers have opinions about it. Parents have been for or against it.
There is probably no one in this community who doesn't have a definite thought about it.
The issue of paddling in Memphis City Schools came to a resolution last month when the school board voted to remove corporal punishment from schools starting next fall. This issue, then, is over. Or is it?
The Memphis City Schools is 87 percent African-American. Based on recent surveys and weighing general commentary in the community, it is safe to say that a good number of African-Americans wholeheartedly support corporal punishment.
Many whom I have spoken to in churches, schools, barbershops, supermarkets and other places were disappointed with the board's vote. This sentiment runs contrary to many experts who cite the detrimental and ineffective aspects of paddling.
It may be easy to say, "the vote has been taken, so let's move on." However, it's not quite that simple.
Whenever you have a situation where people representing 87 percent of your clientele disagree in principle with a decision, the root causes of the disconnect should be examined.
I believe there are some reasons why we find great support in the African-American community for paddling. The first is found in the teachings of the African-American church.
From the earliest days of our nation, the church was fragmented sociologically on the basis of race, and the church in the black community became a source of strength, sustenance and direction.
One of its principal teachings deals with the training of children. Scripture verses such as, "train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it," and sayings such as "spare the rod, spoil the child," resonate with many African-Americans and seem to be part of our DNA.
My 83-year-old mother, for example, lives by this credo. When I was growing up she had no problem applying the rod of correction to the seat of my understanding, many times at the very scene of my transgression.
The second reason is found partly in the realities of African-American life. During the time of Jim Crow segregation, discipline was a necessary part of survival.
To lead an undisciplined life in certain aspects could be disastrous. Discipline could be the difference between either an event-free day and life or "reckless eyeballing" and death.
It was a way to ensure that lives and livelihoods would be preserved. Many a mother has told a son, "I'd rather whip you to keep the police from having to beat you."
After hearing some of the reasons why so many people affirm corporal punishment, we must now look at where we are. Paddling will be gone from our public school system next fall. How should we proceed from here?
Something is needed to curb the erosion of values and discipline in our schools. The suspension of the eighth grade class at Geeter Middle School is an example of this need.
These challenges make the difficult job facing our public school system even harder. Whether you are for or against corporal punishment, I'm sure you would agree that something must be done to make Memphis City Schools a better and safer learning environment for all students.
For me, the answer begins in the home. I reflect again on my 83-year-old mother. She practiced corporal punishment and much more.
She made sure that I was exposed to the wider world at an early age through books and magazines. She set curfews and demanded discipline and respect.
I'm 6-4, and look like a retired football player. My mother is 5-6. But you already know who was in charge. She was.
My mother never allowed me to run her house. She also lived in front of me the kind of life that she wanted to see from me. When I didn't get the message, privileges such as television and seeing friends were taken away. Corporal punishment was the last resort.
My mother's method is a good example to follow. Parents and guardians -- whether that's mother and father, a single mother, single father, grandmother, aunt, uncle or other adult -- must show their children that they are loved.
And they must seek resources to help expand their children's horizons. There is no reason for a parent coming to a school to hear why his child got suspended for participating in a food fight being placed in a squad car for disorderly conduct.
We must view our community as a village where everyone has a vested interest. Teachers must view every child as if they are his or her own. Those who are able can mentor and teach. Others can share resources.
The village must raise those who have no model of excellence or nurturing atmosphere at home. Churches and various community centers are resources that can help with our children.
Every one of us bears responsibility for making a difference that will ensure the ability of our youth to grow, learn and behave in Memphis City Schools.
Noel G. L. Hutchinson Jr. is chaplain at LeMoyne-Owen College and pastor of First Baptist Church Lauderdale.
Copyright 2004, commercialappeal.com - Memphis, TN. All Rights Reserved.
Dallas Morning News, 10 December 2004
Trustees quarrel about paddling policy
Number of parents who will allow corporal punishment shrinks
By Tawnell D. Hobbs
Parents in the Dallas school district have had a change of heart about corporal punishment.
The number of parents who gave permission for their children to be paddled at school dropped about 86 percent this school year. Only 453 parents turned in consent forms, compared with 3,335 last school year.
"Not too many people are interested in having corporal punishment administered to their children," trustee Ken Zornes said at Wednesday night's board meeting. "Hitting a child with a board is not the answer."
Mr. Zornes plans to push for the issue of corporal punishment to be placed on next week's agenda. He hopes to get four trustees to agree to a ban.
Last school year, 261 paddlings were administered, compared with six so far this year.
Corporal punishment was a source of contention last year. Some trustees wanted to stop paddling, while others thought it was a disciplinary tool needed by principals. Trustees ended up implementing a policy that required parents to request in writing whether they want their children to be disciplined by paddling.
Some opponents of corporal punishment criticized the district for stopping short of a prohibition. Twenty-eight states have banned the practice, according to the Center for Effective Discipline.
The majority of Dallas parents who consented to corporal punishment live in the southern area of the city. The Martin Luther King Learning Center in South Dallas had the majority of consents with 170.
The board meeting turned heated as trustees debated the issue. Trustee Hollis Brashear, a supporter of corporal punishment, told trustees the discussion was a waste of time.
"We ought to be talking about how we improve the classroom discipline," Mr. Brashear said. "We get more out of that than we can sitting around here talking about what's right about paddling kids."
Trustee Ron Price said many parents in his area in the southern sector prefer the punishment to having their children suspended from school.
"The issue is parents' right of choice," Mr. Price said. "The present policy is parents' rights."
Trustee Jerome Garza voiced concern about possible legal action over a paddling.
"All it takes is one lawsuit, and our funds are depleted," he said.
Trustee Jack Lowe said experts think paddling is inappropriate.
"I think we ought to do away with it," he said.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Price admonished trustees for even discussing such a controversial matter while the district is searching for a new superintendent.
Before the discussion, trustees had received a report from the Superintendent Search Advisory Committee. It contained a list of 19 recommended criteria for the next superintendent.
The recommended criteria include hiring someone with a proven track record in an urban district, such as Dallas; an individual who would communicate with schools, teachers, parents and the community; and a person who would address all students, with a special focus on black and Latino children.
Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, Florida, 11 December 2004
Pastor's paddling sentence tossed
By Michael A. Scarcella
CHARLOTTE COUNTY The state appeals court in Lakeland
reversed a Port Charlotte pastor's felony child abuse conviction for paddling a student with a wooden board.
Dalton Daily Citizen, Georgia, 15 December 2004
Paddling OK'd at Murray academy
By Misty Watson
Even though students at Murray County's Ninth
Grade Academy can now receive paddlings as an alternative source
of punishment, school officials say it is not an uncommon
All but two of the nine county schools allow
and have allowed paddlings with parental consent for years, said
Dean Donehoo, director of administrative services.
Most of the time, paddlings are done at the
student's or parent's request, Donehoo said. Paddlings are given
instead of in-school suspension because while on in-school
suspension students cannot participate in after-school activities
such as football games, wrestling matches or band concerts, he
The paddlings will only be given by an administrator, not teachers, he said.
State law allows paddlings without parental consent, but Donehoo said most schools do not do that for public relations reasons.
According to state law, parents must present
medical reasons why a paddling would be detrimental to the
student's health before a school is not allowed to paddle, he
©2004 The Daily Citizen. All rights reserved.
Tahlequah Daily Press, Oklahoma, 15 December 2004
Administrators say discipline program working
By Sean Kennedy
New discipline programs at Tahlequah
Junior High School and Tahlequah High School are having an
impact, school administrators told those at Monday night's
Tahlequah I-35 Board of Education meeting.
Administrators last year started looking at alternatives to
giving students out-of-school suspensions for discipline
problems, because the number of suspensions was increasing and
causing enrollment issues.
.........Students can also be placed in Short Term Alternative Placement (STAP), where they are sent home during the school day, but must return after school is over for several hours to sit with a teacher and do homework.
"This has helped us in terms of suspension times and dropping students from the roll," said Bookout.
This program was just started this year at both schools, with 55 students being placed in it during the first quarter at TJHS.
A final option reinstated this year is corporal punishment.
"It's usually paddle, swats, whatever you want to call it," said Bookout. "We follow the procedure laid out in the board policy."
Administrators obtain permission from the student's parents before administering corporal punishment.
"Some parents have said they want their children to have the option of corporal punishment and have signed the forms for it," said Bookout.
Students have opted for the "swats" to get out of a final day of in-school suspension. The person who administers the punishment can only hit twice, the maximum number allowed.
Corporal punishment was administered six times at TJHS during the first quarter and 14 times at THS.
"It will be interesting to see how this affects the dropout rate, because that affects things like our [Adequate Yearly Progress]," said board member John Day. "A lot of kids, when they get suspended and get behind, they just give up."
Dallas Morning News, 17 December 2004
Paddling on hold in DISD
School board approves 2-month moratorium to study discipline issue
By Tawnell D. Hobbs
The Dallas school board banned paddling in schools at Thursday night's meeting at least temporarily.
Trustees voted to implement a two-month moratorium on corporal punishment to allow administrators to come up with a proposal to ban paddling and provide alternatives to discipline students. Such a proposal would still require broad approval.
DMN File The paddle is idle in DISD, at least for now.
Trustee Ron Price, who supports paddling, suggested the moratorium that took the place of a recommendation to immediately ban paddling in the district.
"This gives our administration the opportunity to go back and study these issues ... and bring forth a legitimate plan," he said.
The moratorium passed in a 6-2 vote. Trustees Hollis Brashear and Lew Blackburn abstained, and Joe May was absent.
The issue has split the board. Mr. Brashear, who supports paddling, accused his colleagues of not properly posting the corporal punishment item on the agenda. An attorney for the district disagreed.
The number of parents in the district who have signed forms allowing their children to be paddled has dwindled. As of last week, 453 parents had given consent, compared with 3,335 last year.
Trustee Ken Zornes, who opposes corporal punishment, said it has had permanent harmful effects on children. He said even one child harmed is too many.
"How can we take that risk?" Mr. Zornes said.
© 2004 Belo Interactive Inc.
Tuscaloosa News, Alabama, 18 December 2004
Anniston school board keeps paddling policy
The Associated Press
Corporal punishment will continue in Anniston schools, after the city's school reaffirmed its paddling policy.
Natchez Democrat, Mississippi, 18 December 2004
Port Gibson elementary school achieves Level 5 status
By Julie Finchley
Principal Larry Hooper thinks high expectations and close relationships with the students are the first steps to school success.
Success has been a pattern for the Claiborne County school in recent years. The school, a Level 5 in all but one of Hooper's four years, dropped to a Level 4 in 2003. Hooper is in his first year as principal, but served as assistant principal for the last three years.
He said the school has very little parental involvement, and he relies heavily on the school's teachers and administrators to ensure success.
Hooper also said he teaches good classroom manners and has a strict discipline policy. The school
uses corporal punishment, but Hooper said he rarely spanks children.
© 2002 Natchez Newspapers Inc. All rights reserved. A Boone Newspapers Inc. publication.
The Paris News, Paris, Texas, 19 December 2004
Schools give punishment options
By Mary Madewell
Should students be paddled?
Copyright © 2004 The Paris News
Macon Telegraph, Georgia, 20 December 2004
Readers speak out on school discipline
By Ed Grisamore
My telephone and e-mail inbox have been working overtime since Wednesday. The column about granting teachers more authority over discipline problems in the classroom struck a chord with teachers, parents and concerned readers.
Yes, I'm in favor of corporal punishment. Guess I'm one of those "spare the rod, spoil the child" people.
In fact, I told my wife we should permit our educators to expand the policies of "No Child Left Behind" to include "Bad Child Gets a Spanked Behind."
Out of more than 100 letters and calls, I've only had two negative responses. Both were from attorneys who objected to my comment that, if we're not careful, we're going to "drive teachers from careers in education the same way frivolous malpractice suits are pushing doctors out of the medical profession."
Here are some excerpts from a few of the letters I received.
"I'm a retired Bibb County public school teacher, and I would still be teaching if not for the discipline problems in our schools. The general public has no idea of the diverse backgrounds of students that enter our classrooms each day and the constant stress that we find ourselves dealing with. I predict that more teachers will 'snap' and the teacher shortage will continue to worsen." (Retired Bibb County teacher)
"No one seems to want the children or the parents to be accountable for their behavior, yet teachers must toe the line. The teachers are pushed to the limit with misconduct, more and more paperwork, required courses, deadlines, etc. Someone, especially locally, needs to wake up and take a good look at what is happening, or we are going to lose many teachers due to no classroom control." (Retired Bibb County teacher)
"I am seriously considering leaving the teaching field because of the reaction to discipline in the schools. No longer do I feel comfortable hugging my kindergartners. When they are disobedient (as all 5-year-olds can be), all I can do is say 'I will call your mom.' What a cop-out! But it's all that is available to teachers. If the (mother) is not supportive, a wild thing will grow in my room. Something major is going to have to happen to regain classroom discipline so we can again teach!" (Bibb County kindergarten teacher)
"I feel like I've been beat up some days when I get home. You hit the nail on the head when you write that parents should be held more accountable for their children's behavior. Unfortunately, when I call parents, I am accused of 'picking on their child' because they don't believe their child would misbehave. I have been cursed at, told to shut up, threatened physically and disrespected daily. Teachers are gradually being worn down and making career changes." (Bibb County middle school teacher)
"Students feel empowered to do and say whatever they want while the teacher just has to take it." (Former teacher)
"The 'board' in education is certainly missing." (Bibb County high school teacher)
"Many Bibb County teachers have extremely inadequate administrative support in dealing with disciplinary matters. (While teaching) I was assaulted by students throwing objects (pennies) at me. When the students were not disciplined by the administration, I requested a transfer to a safe school environment. The transfer was denied, and I was forced to resign. ... Many teachers have unruly students who are interfering with the education and safety of the other students as well as the safety of teachers." (Former Bibb County teacher)
"We are on the verge of losing our schools! It seems a lot of adults have abdicated their responsibilities for raising and teaching the children. Somewhere along the line there has been a role reversal take place. The children are raising the parents, the children are running the schools and no one seems to care. ...Today we cater to the individual and lose sight of the fact that most of the students want a quality education. We allow a few individuals to dominate the classroom with bad behavior that drains a teacher's time and energy. We need to get back to a no-nonsense, no-tolerance base in order to serve the needs of the majority in the schools. If some of the students cannot or will not conform, then let their parents keep them home and home school their little darlings!" (Houston County substitute teacher)
"I don't believe in manhandling children nor abusing them. But sometimes you have to get their attention." (Retired teacher)
"The public needs to become increasingly aware of the growing problem of lack of discipline in school children in the 21st century. Our hands are tied, and the children do know it, and believe me, they do take full advantage of the situation. Talk about stress! It is no wonder to me that teachers are breaking under the stress. I have taught music in Bibb County for nearly 30 years, and the changes I have witnessed are frightening to say the least." (Bibb County teacher)
"Just wish every parent in the USA could read and appreciate what you had to say. I grew up in a time where respect was a required ingredient in schools. The teachers I remember with love were the ones who required respect." (Concerned reader)
"Our school board is doing nothing but reinforcing the opinion that the student is always right. What happened to the concept that the principals should back up their teachers? Please continue to champion our teachers. If we are not careful, we will have no good teachers left." (Concerned reader)
Dallas Morning News, Texas, 21 December 2004
Opinion: Letters for Wednesday
Board still needs board
As a former 30-year teacher-coach in the Dallas ISD, I would like to suggest that school board members who are against corporal punishment spend the next two months teaching a class in one of Dallas' middle schools.
The DISD needs to take back control of the classroom. This might be unpopular, but doing the right thing is always unpopular to those who refuse to follow rules in the first place.
Ray Kent Smith, Dallas
Hartselle Enquirer, Alabama, 29 December 2004
HJHS tops list for discipline problems
By Clif Knight
Hartselle schools combined had 109 incidents involving the serious misbehavior of students during the 2003-04 academic year, according to a school safety and discipline report released to media representatives Dec. 16.
The state's education accountability law mandates that copies of the report be distributed to media, parent organizations and state legislators not later than Dec. 31.
Hartselle Junior High School's 48 incidents topped the list. Hartselle High had 38; F.E. Burleson Elementary had 22; and Crestline Elementary had one. Barkley Bridge Elementary reported no incidents.
Persistent/willful disobedience accounted for 48 of the incidents. Following in number were defiance of authority, 27, truancy/unauthorized absence and fighting, nine each, and profanity or vulgarity and threats/intimidation, eight each. Others incidents reported were: drugs possession, three, harassment, tobacco possession, alcohol possession and other sexual offenses, two each, larceny/theft/robbery/possession of stolen property, knife possession, other weapon possession, drugs sale and drugs use, one each.
Disciplinary measures taken as a result of the incidents included 54 cases of suspension, 41 cases of corporal punishment and 22 cases of enrollment in an alternative school.
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