Paddle tale: Arkansas and corporal punishment in public schools | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Paddle tale: Arkansas and corporal punishment in public schools

Posted By on Tue, Dec 6, 2016 at 12:43 PM

Arkansas Public Media reports on corporal punishment in Arkansas:
Choosing the preferred instrument of pain as well as number of strokes against the bottoms of unruly public school students remains legal in Arkansas, and twenty-one other states.

“My understanding is that it’s typically a wooden paddle,” says Kristen Garner, staff attorney for Arkansas School Boards Association. She monitors public school discipline practices. “The most prevalent is to be spanked on the rear end.”

Which is how Berryville Public Schools, in eastern Carroll County does it, says Superintendent Owen Powell, before a recent school board meeting.

“Corporal punishment is part of our school policy,” he says. “But it’s an option. We don’t force students or parents to submit to it.”
The Berryville School District has had 229 cases so far this year. Some school districts have banned the practice, including Fayetteville and Little Rock.

School districts that employ corporal punishment have to comply with various regulations. I was surprised to learn that Arkansas allows corporal punishment for students with behavioral disabilities under certain circumstances.

Some advocates, citing evidence that corporal punishment is ineffective and more likely to be used on black students, are pushing a national ban and a move toward evidence-based positive reinforcement. Somehow, this doesn't sound like a plan that our president-elect would sign on for.

The full piece from Arkansas Media is worth a read/listen.

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