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School CP - July 1991

Corpun file 4431


The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, 10 July 1991

Spanking Ban Voted Down

By Stacy D. Johnson

Corporal punishment still will be used in the Midwest City-Del City school district.

A school board member's recommendation to impose a six-month moratorium on corporal punishment, so the results could be studied, was rejected by a 3-2 vote during a meeting this week.

Member Geary Walke requested the board consider placing a temporary ban on spanking of students and explore other discipline alternatives.

Walke said a survey by district administrators for the 1990-91 school year showed most paddlings didn't occur for expected offenses but for "other" unnamed reasons.

"I find that there is no specific policy that we have at this time that sets forth specific disciplinary infractions regarding students which could lead to paddling. There appear to be vague and disparate standards for determining when paddling will occur," he said.

Walke said a national trend to abolish corporal punishment is growing.

Teachers and administrators should focus on other disciplinary methods that take into consideration the student's history and ethnic background, he said.

Nancy VonBergen, Oklahomans Against Corporal Punishment vice president, urged board members to abolish corporal punishment and adopt other alternatives.

"The teachers have the alternatives. I know that change is difficult," she said.

VonBergen said several other school districts including Norman, Oklahoma City, Bartlesville and Tulsa Union, have adopted other forms of discipline.

Superintendent John Folks read letters from representatives of the League of Women Voters and the Mid-Del Association of Classroom Teachers supporting other types of discipline.

Folks said he had mixed feelings about the subject, but noted a committee of teachers and administrators told him the district's discipline policy was solid and shouldn't be changed.

Board president Anthony Thomas and member Sammy Young also praised the district's procedures.

Thomas said, "I'm not at all sure if we abolish corporal punishment we would be doing our teachers and students a service."

Member Richard Corwin said he would like to see discipline options brought in through workshops for teachers, but the current policy kept in place during that time.

Member Lee Roy Smith said he believed paddlings are a poor form of discipline. One form of discipline will not work on all kids, he said.

"I feel like the people that we have in this system are intelligent enough to know what the alternatives are and which ones will work," he said.

Walke and Smith voted for the proposal with Corwin, Thomas and Young voting against it.

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