Missouri school district reinstates spanking as student punishment – ​​National


Parents can now choose to subject their children to corporal punishment in a school district in southwestern Missouri.

The students of the Cassville R-IV School Districtless than 25 miles from the Arkansas border, were made aware of a new policy approved by the school board in June that reinstated spanking as a disciplinary measure.

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The policy defines corporal punishment as « the use of physical force as a method of correcting student behavior ».

Merlyn Johnson, superintendent of the Cassville school, told local newspaper Springfield News-Leader that the discipline would be enforced using a paddle.

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School district policy states that spanking « shall be used only when all other alternative means of discipline have failed, and only in reasonable form and on the recommendation of the principal. »

It is forbidden for other students to attend the punishment of a peer.

Spanking a student must be done in a way that uses « reasonable physical force » and ensures « no chance of bodily injury or harm », according to the policy. Guidelines for « reasonable physical force » are unclear, although hitting a student in the head or face is not permitted.

Click to play the video: “Spanking your children can have a lasting negative effect – even 10 years later”

Spanking your kids can have a lasting negative effect – even 10 years later

Spanking your kids can have a lasting negative effect – even 10 years later – August 2, 2017

All instances of corporal punishment in the school district must be reported to the superintendent.

The decision to reinstate the highly controversial disciplinary action is the result of an anonymous survey of parents, students and school employees, Johnson told Springfield News-Leader.

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In the survey, student behavior problems would have been identified as a high concern.

« We started generating ideas of what we could do and corporal punishment was one of the ideas, » Johnson told the outlet.

Merlyn Johnson smiling in a suit and tie.

Cassville R-IV School District Superintendent Merlyn Johnson.

Cassville R-IV School District.

Corporal punishment was introduced along with two other actions: the creation of a Success Academy (which helps students who struggle in traditional classroom environments) and the banning of all cell phones, earphones, Bluetooth headphones and smartwatches in the classrooms.

Parents can choose to accept or refuse that their children undergo corporal punishment thanks to an authorization form which has been distributed to families. Johnson does not yet know how many parents have allowed their children to paddle.

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He did, however, claim that many parents had called for the paddle to return.

« We had people thanking us for that, » Johnson told Springfield News-Leader.

Much of the backlash outside of the school district (particularly on social media) has spoken out against the new policy, with several people saying reinstating corporal punishment is a step in the wrong direction.

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Johnson told Springfield News-Leader that the opinions of people online did not match the actual local community. « Surprisingly, those on social media would probably be appalled to hear us say these things, but the majority of people I’ve met have been supportive, » he said.

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Corporal punishment has not been used in the Cassville School District since 2001, the outlet reported.

In 1977, the United States Supreme Court decision Ingraham v. Wright said the use of corporal punishment in schools was a matter decided by the state. There are 19 states where disciplinary action is legal in public schools, including Missouri.

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« My plan when I got to Cassville was not to be known as the guy who brought corporal punishment back to Cassville, » Johnson told Springfield News-Leader. “I didn’t want this to be my legacy and I still don’t. But it’s something that happened under my watch and I’m ok with that.

In Canada — because the Supreme Court banned corporal punishment of students in 2004 — paddling and spanking children in schools is illegal across the country.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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