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School CP - September 1989

Corpun file 4465


The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, 1 September 1989

Bellmon Declines to Take Stand on Corporal Punishment

By Paul English

Despite two months of lobbying by an aide, Gov. Henry Bellmon declined Thursday to take a position on corporal punishment.

"We'll probably deal with that issue along with educational reform when the time comes, but I don't at the moment have enough information on either side to come down hard and fast on it," he said.

Bellmon said an aide, Linda Sponsler, "has been lobbying me for two months for me to come out and take a position on corporal punishment."

He said Sponsler is opposed to it.

Asked what position he took when his three daughters were growing up, he said, "I don't know that we were ever called upon to pass judgment. As far as I know they never got into trouble. They were like their father."

Asked whether there were better ways to discipline children than by spanking, he said, "Well, there are different kinds of kids. Some respond to one kind of discipline; some to others."


Corpun file 2509


The Guardian, London, 25 September 1989

Schoolteacher contests abuse charge after spanking pupil

By Mark Tran in Washington

A FLORIDA headmaster has been designated a "perpetrator" of child abuse for spanking a pupil too hard.

Last May, Mr Gerald Winsett, of Tampa, gave a 13-year-old boy a whacking, as he was entitled to do under Florida law, which allows corporal punishment.

But the state's health department believes he overstepped the mark: it says a whacking which leaves a bruise that stays visible after 24 hours is excessive.

As a result, Mr Winsett has been designated a "perpetrator" on the state's Child Abuse Registry -- a confidential list used for state-required screenings of child-care workers on which over 70 school employees have been listed this year as confirmed abusers.

Mr Winsett, who has been in education for 24 years and is the headmaster of Stambaugh middle school, in Auburndale, has gone to court to have his name removed from the registry.

Under Florida state law a confirmed child abuser is disqualified from working with the elderly, the disabled, in day-care centres, or in jobs that deal with adoption, but schools are also affected.

Florida's teachers have closed ranks around Mr Winsett.

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