Paddling to be allowed at Georgia school to punish some students

To begin the new school year, a Georgia public charter school sent consent forms home to parents informing t...

Posted: Sep 13, 2018 12:40 PM
Updated: Sep 13, 2018 12:40 PM

To begin the new school year, a Georgia public charter school sent consent forms home to parents informing them of a new corporal punishment policy, CNN affiliate WRDW reported Friday. The superintendent of the Georgia School for Innovation and the Classics says a third of the 100 "consent to paddle forms" that have been returned have granted permission to the school.

"A parent can either give consent for us to use that as a disciplinary measure or they can deny consent," Jody Boulineau, superintendent of the Hephzibah, Georgia-based school, told WRDW. "There's no obligation. It's not required."

Charter schools

Continents and regions

Corporal punishment in schools

Education

Education systems and institutions

Families and children

Georgia

North America

Parents and parenting

Primary and secondary education

Public schools

Society

Southeastern United States

Student discipline

Students and student life

Teachers and teaching

The Americas

United States

Business, economy and trade

Company activities and management

Product development

Product innovation

Product management

Children

Demographic groups

Family members and relatives

Population and demographics

Child discipline

He added that the school received an uneven response from parents. "I've heard, 'Great, it's about time. We're so glad that this is happening again, they should've never taken it out of schools.' All the way to 'Oh my goodness I can't believe you are doing that'," said Boulineau.

Georgia School for Innovation and the Classics, which first opened its door to students three years ago, serves kindergarten through sixth-grade students, though it plans to expand into the upper grades over time. All Georgia resident students are eligible to attend and 694 students were enrolled as of the state's most recent enrollment count in March 2018.

'Serious, repetitive offenses'

The new policy was approved by the board of directors in June, according to Julie Hawkins, principal of Georgia School for Innovation and the Classics.

"It is a choice made by the parent as one option among many in the discipline policy, and is reserved for serious, repetitive offenses," said Hawkins, who emphasized, "Again, the decision would be made by the parent."

The form records a parent's consent allowing administrators to hit their children with a wooden paddle and reads: "A student will be taken into an office behind closed doors. The student will place their hands on their knees or piece of furniture and will be struck on the buttocks with a paddle." No more than three licks should be given the fully clothed child, according to the form.

Though parents may agree to the paddling of their children, they will be contacted before it happens. The school will use a "three strike policy" so the paddling doesn't happen on the first or second offense, according to the new guidelines put forth by the school.

The reason for the change in policy is not a matter of school-wide discipline problems, Hawkins said in an email. "The ability to control the students is not a factor in our school," she said. "We have an average of 20 students per class, and we have very high expectations for behavior. We work with the students and parents to maintain a learning environment with very few disruptions."

Thirty-one states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have abolished corporal punishment in public schools, according to World Corporal Punishment Research, an independent, nonprofit website. This form of disciplining students is still permitted in 19 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. Exact laws vary from state to state, though in most places where corporal punishment is allowed, the use is negligible, according to the nonprofit's website. Two states, North Carolina and Texas, give parents the right to exempt their children from its use.

The Department of Education estimates 106,000 students were paddled in public schools during the 2013-14 school year, a decline of 50,000 over two years previously.

Paddling children in private schools is lawful in all but two states, Iowa and New Jersey, according to the nonprofit. Punishment in these institutions is not included in the federal statistics.

In Georgia, a preliminary search of the Georgia Department of Education database indicates that 243 -- both charter and traditional schools -- of the state's more than 2,200 total schools administered corporal punishment in 2017, according to Lauren Holcomb, a spokeswoman for Georgia's State Charter School Commission. The commission "does not play a role in" which discipline procedures are chosen by individual schools "outside of ensuring a school's discipline policy complies with the law," Holcomb said in an email.

'Bullying'

Deb Olufs, an educational specialist in the Department of Behavioral Medicine of Gundersen Health System in Wisconsin, said, "Corporal punishment can keep order in a classroom, but it comes at an enormous cost -- because the student becomes afraid of the teacher. And this environment we want of learning and engaging in school isn't created by that. The student is now afraid of the teacher and will go to many lengths and will avoid the teacher."

"The last thing I want is for a child to equate school with a place where he or she can be hurt," said Olufs, who said a school "should be a place of safety and enjoyment and learning."

"There's no difference to me between a teacher bullying a child and another student bullying a child," said Olufs. "It should not be allowed." Good teachers can find alternative ways to punish children who present disciplinary problems, she said.

Teachers sometimes enlist a student who is acting out into being a helper as a way to develop a closer relationship, said Olufs. Often, students who struggle with their lessons pose problems, so a teacher might give those students more of a leadership position or another way to shine. Separation sometimes works -- sending a child to a place where they can be alone for a few minutes. The classroom rules should be posted and stated in very clear and positive terms. "A well-run classroom is a work of art," Olufs said.

If parents suspect corporal punishment has been used on their child without their consent, they should immediately report it to the school social worker and the school principal, said Olufs.

At the Georgia School for Innovation and the Classics, only children of consenting parents who have been notified in advance will receive their three licks, after two previous warnings. Because of this, Boulineau said he believes the new punitive policy will likely not be used often. "Sometimes it's just kind of the threat of it being there becomes a deterrent in itself," the superintendent said. "It's just one more tool that we have in our disciplinary toolbox that we can use."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 660942

Reported Deaths: 12556
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion905601638
Lake48352874
Allen35762635
Hamilton32026396
St. Joseph29865511
Elkhart25350414
Vanderburgh21225377
Tippecanoe19977200
Johnson16319356
Porter15938269
Hendricks15801300
Clark11928180
Madison11730316
Vigo11578229
Monroe10312161
Delaware9830179
LaPorte9755196
Howard9047196
Kosciusko8549109
Bartholomew7440147
Warrick7403150
Hancock7394130
Floyd7189169
Wayne6630191
Grant6422157
Morgan6075125
Boone607288
Dubois5895111
Dearborn546866
Cass543399
Henry541793
Marshall5417104
Noble508578
Jackson464366
Shelby460190
Lawrence4179111
Gibson400881
Harrison398763
Clinton395053
Montgomery386283
DeKalb384678
Miami356763
Knox356485
Whitley348936
Huntington342376
Steuben337855
Wabash330876
Putnam329459
Ripley326861
Adams322549
Jasper315443
White297252
Jefferson294473
Daviess285396
Fayette271456
Decatur270488
Greene261280
Posey260531
Wells257674
Scott249950
Clay240844
LaGrange240770
Randolph225576
Spencer217030
Jennings214744
Washington210427
Sullivan203139
Fountain201142
Starke187951
Owen181953
Fulton178237
Jay177628
Carroll176418
Perry173235
Orange171150
Rush164322
Vermillion160242
Franklin159335
Tipton146141
Parke138815
Pike127432
Blackford120627
Pulaski106444
Newton96531
Brown94939
Benton91813
Crawford90313
Martin80014
Warren75513
Switzerland7537
Union67110
Ohio53211
Unassigned0431

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 966154

Reported Deaths: 17237
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1116881202
Cuyahoga953321735
Hamilton73102963
Montgomery47187886
Summit40041955
Butler35377468
Lucas35149761
Stark29267838
Warren22334274
Lorain21938389
Mahoning19373541
Lake18335305
Clermont18304210
Delaware16385135
Licking14923200
Fairfield14476157
Trumbull14270461
Greene13536213
Medina13327218
Clark12210335
Wood11481193
Portage10958159
Allen10761235
Richland10236205
Miami9999189
Muskingum8139129
Columbiana8094182
Pickaway8022101
Tuscarawas8012235
Marion7973137
Wayne7843219
Erie6852184
Ross6114136
Geauga6036128
Hancock5973112
Ashtabula5928144
Scioto5911104
Lawrence522474
Union509752
Darke5021124
Belmont490189
Huron4776117
Jefferson4770108
Sandusky475595
Seneca4648103
Athens461232
Washington459387
Mercer4581101
Auglaize454898
Shelby440769
Knox400586
Putnam3982101
Madison391447
Ashland378395
Fulton377564
Defiance3706102
Brown368842
Crawford356196
Logan352959
Preble352471
Clinton339364
Highland326855
Ottawa322367
Williams301477
Jackson288556
Guernsey285734
Champaign285146
Fayette267644
Perry267143
Morrow258925
Henry245465
Hardin243656
Holmes2430104
Coshocton233847
Van Wert228849
Gallia221346
Adams215432
Pike214428
Wyandot209053
Hocking193449
Carroll180228
Paulding159623
Meigs134637
Noble128442
Monroe116036
Morgan100534
Harrison100132
Vinton76615
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 60°
Angola
Mostly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 57°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 61°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 60°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 57°
Scattered Rain Sunday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events