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School CP - February 1982

Corpun file 3685

Pensacola News, Florida, 23 February 1982

Paddlings Defended

TAMPA -- One of every 13 students in the Hillsborough County schools received a paddling last school year, officials say. It was a scene repeated nearly 8,600 times during the 1980-81 academic year. A youngster was sent to the principal's office. He confessed his wrongdoing, bent over, grabbed hold of a chair and waited. Suddenly, a staccato whack rang out. Once. Twice. Three times.

Critics say the paddlings amount to child abuse. But supporters defend the practice as an effective discipline tool. "I don't think it's child abuse at all," said Raymond Shelton, Hillsborough school superintendent. "I really support it. Young people have to learn there is a consequence for bad actions. And, unfortunately, among the 118,000 children in our schools, there are quite a number who understand a paddling, but don't understand a reprimand or counselling."

David Waters, principal of Miles Elementary, where 201 paddlings -- highest among county schools -- were handed out during the 1980-81 academic year, agrees with his boss. "Without paddlings, there is chaos and confusion," Waters said.

School figures for that academic year note that of the 8,600 students paddled, more than 3,000 students had been paddled on more than one different occasion.

Corpun file 4548


The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, 24 February 1982

Principal right in paddling teen, jury says

(AP) A Sand Springs principal was within his authority when, as a disciplinary measure, he spanked a 13-year-old student, a Tulsa County District Court jury has decided.

Jurors returned a unanimous verdict Tuesday for Vernon Ellis, principal of Sand Springs Central Junior High School for the past nine years.

A $155,015 judgment was sought on behalf of Steve Williams, who had filed suit through his father, Carlton Williams. District Judge Clifford Hopper had ruled during the two-day trial that the jury by law could not consider awarding $150,000 in punitive damages requested.

The civil suit alleged a paddling on Feb. 17, 1981, was without justification and constituted excessive force.

The paddling occurred the day after an alleged fight. According to testimony, two students were offered a choice of two paddle whacks or a telephone call to their parents to inform them what had happened. Both boys chose the paddling.

Oklahoma law allows corporal punishment, Hopper said.

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