SCHOOLS are to punish students by smacking them with a wooden paddle in a bid to improve discipline.
The move by a town’s school authorities has come in response to demands by parents, school staff and even students.
GettySome schools are to be allowed to smack some pupils with wooden paddles[/caption]
The Cassville School District, in Missouri, says the punishment will be used as a “last resort” and won’t be “inflicted in the presence of other students”.
There will be one witness and the smacking is not aimed to cause “bodily injury or harm”.
Superintendent Merlyn Johnson claimed frustrated parents in the “very traditional community” were asking why schools weren’t allowed to paddle students
There have been several requests to reinstate the decades-old policy.
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“There had been a conversation with parents and there had been requests from parents for us to look into it,” he told the Springfield News-Leader.
“We’ve had people actually thank us for it.”
Missouri is one of 19 states where corporal punishment is legal but any parent in Cassville who disagrees with the policy can opt out.
Under the policy, older students whose parents opt in could receive up to three whacks per punishment with younger ones getting two.
The only part of the body that can be hit is the buttocks with blows to the head or face not permitted.
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Only when other punishments such as detention have failed to discipline unruly students.
“No one is jumping up and down saying we want to do this because we like to paddle kids,” said Johnson.
“That is not the reason that we would want to do this.”
Johnson said using corporal punishment is an alternative to suspending pupils with discipline problems.
“The kid stays in the classroom and learns. When they are suspended, they are not with the teacher anymore,” he said.
“A lot of times when kids are out-of-school suspended, they don’t have the opportunity to make up that work. They get zeros and that is not what we want.”
Tess Walters, 54, the guardian of her eight-year-old granddaughter, had no qualms about signing the corporal punishment opt-in papers.
“I’ve read some some peoples responses on Facebook recently, and they’re just going over the top like, ‘Oh, this is abuse, and, oh, you’re just going to threaten them with, you know, violence’
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“And I’m like, what? The child is getting spanked once – it’s not beatings. People are just going crazy. They’re just being ridiculous.”
Morgan Craven, a director of the Intercultural Development Research Association, a national educational charity called corporal punishment a “wildly inappropriate, ineffective practice”.