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School CP - October 1998

Associated Press, 2 October 1998

Adams Co. task force recommends return of corporal punishment

By Kasey Beckham
Staff Writer

A special task force assigned to study the possibility of re-establishing corporal punishment in Adams County/Ohio Valley Schools reported in its favor at Monday night's school board meeting.

Interim Superintendent Al Porter said the task force represented such groups as counselors, medical professionals, teachers and parents.

The group reported 120 members for progressing with the reestablishment qualifications and 17 against.

Porter said corporal punishment was banned by Ohio state law several years ago, but that local districts could keep the policy if they met certain provisions and filled out the proper paperwork. Adams County did not fulfill the requirements and thus had corporal punishment dropped from its allowable alternative punishments.

Porter said he had been approached by several groups and individuals requesting reconsideration of the policy as an alternative for Adams County. However, districts were not allowed to consider the subject until Sept. 1 of this year according to the original law banning corporal punishment.

The decision to begin the process of reconsidering corporal punishment was the beginning of a very long process, according to Porter.

The board first had to assemble a large task force to see if the re-establishment of corporal punishment was something in which the community was interested.

When the task force returned its recommendation Monday night, the board then voted to accept it by the narrow margin of three to two.

Board member Lucinda Hansgen voted for the measure. "As far as I'm concerned, the task force came back with a recommendation and we should support it," she said.

Hansgen said she was for corporal punishment as an alternative, but that she was also for researching other alternatives as well.

Board President Christine Armstrong voted against the re-establishment proceedings of corporal punishment.

"I'm opposed to it because I believe it perpetuates a cycle of child abuse," Armstrong said.

She noted that injuries can occur when a child is spanked and no matter how strict the school policy is, lawsuits can still be filed.

Armstrong cited a lawsuit against South Webster School District in Scioto County in which a 17-year-old student was spanked and suffered internal bleeding for 27 days.

Armstrong added that 27 states now ban corporal punishment.

Now the task force has presented its recommendation and it has initially been approved the board, Porter said another task force would reconvene to further study the issue.

Corporal punishment, if approved by the board, would still only serve as an alternative. Porter said both schools and parents would have options.

"First of all, a parent can opt out by signing a form stating he or she does not want to have corporal punishment administered to his or her child," Porter said. "Secondly, principals do not have to utilize it (as a punishment)."

Porter said the school district is exploring other options or alternatives for punishment, such as character education and alternative school.

He also noted that the last district in which he served did not ban corporal punishment, but that fewer than 10 paddlings per year were administered on average.

In Kentucky, corporal punishment is permissible, but each district sets its own policies.

Fleming County Superintendent Ronnie Fern said in order for a Fleming County school to administer corporal punishment, there must be a signed permission form on file. Corporal punishment is then only administered at the discretion of the principal and teacher, and two certified personnel must be witnesses.

Still, corporal punishment is "hardly ever" administered, Fern said.

PHS Post, magazine of Perryton High School, Texas, 7 October 1998

Dressed to kill

Gang-related clothing not allowed at PHS

By Nichole Hummer

Walking through the office door came the stranger, a young man dressed in pure white. Who was he, this new kid? Why was he dressed as he was?

"Kids who dress in a solid color may be doing so to represent being a member of a gang," principal Doug Burke said. "It is only one of many signs gang members show in their clothing."

Another sign may be the style of writing on an article of clothing, such as Old English Script, Burke said. The Old English Script has become an official gang writing.

School officials are on the lookout for these and other signs and have a dress code that doesn't allow wearing gang-related clothing.

Gang-related clothing may include an oversized shirt worn untucked or bandannas in a gang's color tied around the forehead as head gear. Gang-related clothing may be any color; however, the main colors of gangs are black, blue and red.

And while loose-fitting clothes are in, if a student buys pants, say ten inches over the normal waist size, it could be considered gang-related clothing.

"(Some) pants are so big that the crotch hangs down to their knees," Burke said.

One of Burke's concerns about the loose-fitting clothes is that gang members could be hiding a concealed weapon. "We have the dress code to protect students from gangs," Burke said.

Gang clothing is not allowed at PHS, and the dress code is enforced by the principal and teachers. If a student doesn't follow the dress code, he or she will first receive a warning. If the student still refuses to follow the dress code, he or she automatically gets three days of suspension or swats each time after the warning. If the student still chooses not to follow the dress code, he or she will go through a hearing and can be removed from school to ECU at the junior high.

Berkeley News, South Carolina, 10 October 1998

Bruises spark school paddling probe

MACEDONIA - Berkeley County School officials recently investigated a paddling incident at Macedonia Middle School after a doctor found bruises on a child's body.

Jeff McWhorter, the school district's director of public safety, was asked to investigate the case after a local doctor contacted the Department of Social Services.

The child's parent has demanded answers from the school district about the severity of the punishment. Last month, school officials at Macedonia Middle recommended that the child be suspended for three days for fighting, according to district spokesperson Pam Bailey. The child's parent requested punishment in the form of a paddling instead of suspension.

Three strikes were administered to the child by a school employee with a witness present. The way that the punishment was administered was not unusual and followed district policy, Bailey said. According to district policy, school officials must have full parental consent before using corporal punishment.

The child's skin was bruised, and the parent took the child to a doctor. The doctor was required to report the bruises to the Berkeley County Department of Social Services. DSS asked McWhorter to investigate the incident. The child's parent could not be reached for comment.

"We are satisfied that the law, policy and procedure have been followed. They were followed at the request of the parent," Bailey said. "But we are concerned. We would never do anything to harm a child." The school district will not release the name of the individual who gave the punishment or the name of the witness. All district employees have been advised not to discuss the incident because the parent may have contacted a lawyer.

Bailey said disciplinary corporal punishment is not used often in the school system. "It isn't used much for this very reason," she said.

Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio, 21 October 1998

Keep Paddling Out Of Schools, Panel Says

By Bernie Mixon

NORTH COLLEGE HILL -- A task force studying corporal punishment voted Tuesday to recommend the district not reinstate the policy.

It will now be up to the board of education to act on the recommendation of the 20-member Secondary Local Discipline Task Force. The recommendation will be brought before the board at its November meeting.

The task force voted 15-2 in recommending keeping the paddle out of the classroom during a meeting in the gymnasium at Becker Elementary School.

"Some people could support corporal punishment, but because of the input of the community and potential problems for faculty and administration, they voted against it," said Jean Parmenter, co-chair of the task force and a member of the district's board of education. She voted against reinstatement.

Parent Barbara Graves voted to reinstate corporal punishment. "I discipline my child and feel no one else has to, but I can see a whole different breed of kids where the teacher doesn't have control," she said. "They should have something."

In 1993, the district banned corporal punishment as a discipline method. Under legislation that took effect Sept.1, 1994, corporal punishment was abolished in all Ohio public school districts unless a district follows a task force's recommendation for its use.

At two public meetings held in September, parents overwhelmingly were against paddling in the schools, although a couple were in favor of it.

Some parents said while they disapproved of corporal punishment, they urged greater parental responsibility and working with teachers to solve discipline problems in the classroom.

Parents at the meeting Tuesday had mixed feelings about corporal punishment.

"I would have no problem with it if they would establish guidelines, and if parents were willing to come in and state their case (in each corporal punishment situation)," said Carlos Ruble, a parent. Mr. Ruble said he came to the meeting opposed to corporal punishment but changed his mind during the discussion.

Mrs. Parmenter, co-chair of the task force and a school board member, said she was surprised that so many parents were against bringing the paddle back to the classroom.

"In any individual conversation I had with folks, I was hearing that people wanted it," said Mrs. Parmenter. "I was not expecting that or the size of the crowd."

Mrs. Parmenter said she was pleased with the numbers of people attending the meetings.

"If nothing else, it gets community members to a public forum." The school board will have 30 days after receiving the recommendation to act on it, Mrs. Parmenter said.

Cincinnati Enquirer, 30 October 1998

Teacher suspended for spanking

By Sue Kiesewetter

HAMILTON, OHIO -- A Fillmore Elementary School reading teacher is back in the classroom after serving a three-day suspension for spanking a first-grader, a violation of school district policy.

Principal Rex Buchheit disciplined Tom Perkins following an investigation last week.

"He did violate our district policy on corporal punishment," Mr. Buchheit said Thursday. "There was never any anger or malicious intent. It was more of a demonstration. It was not done to cause harm. I feel comfortable having him teach in my building. I have the utmost confidence this will not reoccur."

The first-grade boy, whom school officials would not identify, will not return to the reading center at his mother's request, Mr. Buchheit said.

Allegations that Mr. Perkins might have spanked other children were not substantiated, Mr. Buchheit said. This is Mr. Perkins' first year of teaching in the Hamilton schools.

"The administration and board have taken appropriate disciplinary action and feel confident there will not be a recurrence," assistant superintendent Gene Hutzelman said in a prepared statement.

School officials declined to give any other details related to the incident. Mr. Perkins could not be reached.

Corpun file 4504

The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, 31 October 1998

Teacher Suspended for Paddling

A Parker Elementary teacher has been suspended without pay for violating the district's ban on paddling.

Herbert McKinney, a physical education teacher, was accused of paddling a student, according to a memo from Superintendent Marvin Crawford obtained by The Oklahoman.

McKinney's suspension began Monday and will remain in effect until Nov. 9. The teacher also received a letter of reprimand and will be monitored by the school's principal, according to the memo. District spokeswoman Cynthia Reid said McKinney agreed to the unpaid suspension. The district banned corporal punishment in 1989.

Attempts to reach McKinney on Friday were unsuccessful.

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