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School CP - February 1991

Corpun file 4427 at


The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, 7 February 1991

Bill to Abolish Spanking in Schools Faces Opposition in Legislature

By Mick Hinton

A move to abolish corporal punishment in Oklahoma's public schools is afoot at the state Capitol again this session, but it appeared Wednesday that the proposal faces some major hurdles.

Those promoting House Bill 1029 said the measure defines corporal punishment as inflicting physical pain upon a student.

Norman mother Nancy Von Bargen pointed out that teachers still could physically restrain a student who attempts to hurt another student "or if the child was destroying property."

"I came from a state that banned corporal punishment 100 years ago," said the New Jersey native, who said she doesn't want her children subjected to the possibility of a teacher hitting them.

She said the Norman schools banned corporal punishment last year, and officials say they have not seen any deterioration in discipline.

Oklahoma City schools also abolished corporal punishment. Von Bargen was among parents who met Wednesday with bill supporters.

But Rep. James Hager, D-Pawhuska, who chairs the education subcommittee that will hear the bill, said Wednesday that he thinks local school boards, and not the state, should be able to decide.

Although Hager intends to vote against the bill, he said he will allow it to be heard in his subcommittee early next week.

Freshman legislator Bruce Niemi, D-Tulsa, authored the bill. He said it appears that members are about evenly divided, with Republicans generally against a corporal punishment ban.

Corpun file 4432 at


The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, 13 February 1991

Panel Sends No-Spanking Measure Home for Session

By Mick Hinton

A bill to abolish corporal punishment in Oklahoma's public schools got slapped down Tuesday in a House subcommittee.

Freshman legislator Bruce Niemi, D-Tulsa, sought a compromise to his proposal by adding a clause that would allow parents to give schools written authority to administer corporal punishment.

Rep. Mike Tyler, D-Sapulpa, said he thought Niemi's bill would take away local control.

Niemi said he was seeking a "level playing field" for all schools, because discipline is not uniform throughout the state.

Warren Boles, superintendent of White Rock, a dependent school district in Lincoln County, spoke in favor of paddling. He said that at his school "a paddle is a last resort; it's one swat, period."

He noted that Tuesday morning he received a call from a mother asking the school to spank her child for not doing his homework.

Dale Jonda, representing Oklahomans Opposed to Corporal Punishment, said that only the United States, Iran, Uganda and "the outback of Australia" allow corporal punishment.

Rep. Rob Johnson, R-Tulsa, quizzed Niemi about several points in the bill and about Tulsa schools' policies.

Niemi said that in Tulsa, individual schools determine whether to administer corporal punishment.

The committee's vote means the bill is dead for this legislative session.

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