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FC School Board votes to keep corporal punishment

Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 11:36 am

Corporal punishment at Franklin County Schools remains in effect.

The Board of Education approved last week in a 6-1 vote to keep its corporal punishment policy in place. Chris McDonough was the sole board member to vote against the measure.

Corporal punishment is a form of physical reprimand that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence.

It is also used to discipline or reform a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behavior deemed unacceptable. The term usually refers to methodically striking the offender with the open hand or with an implement.

Dr. Rebecca Sharber, Franklin County Schools director, said studies have shown that corporal punishment has been an ineffective discipline measure. She added that corporal punishment also leaves questions about potential lawsuits.

“This is a step in a progressive direction to eliminate this,” Sharber said, referring to removing corporal punishment from the system’s student behavior policies.

Board member Chris Guess said corporal punishment has its merits.images

He said the discipline involves students having a “fear of the unknown,” which can be an effective means to sway them toward proper behavior.

“In certain circumstances, it is effective,” Guess said, adding that parents can opt their children out from corporal punishment.

Board member Cleijo Walker echoed Guess’ assessment.

“It’s something we need to leave in place,” she said, referring to the corporal punishment policy.

The policy says that:

“Any principal, assistant principal or teacher may use corporal punishment against any student for good cause in order to maintain discipline and order with the public schools.

“Corporal punishment shall be administered only after other less stringent measures have failed or if the conduct of a student is of such nature that corporal punishment is the only reasonable form of punishment under the circumstances.

“The instrument to be used in administering corporal punishment shall be approved by the principal.

“Corporal punishment shall be administered in the presence of another professional employee, preferably the principal or assistant principal. Corporal punishment shall be appropriately administered in the office area.

“The nature of the punishment will be such that it is in proportion to the gravity of the office, the apparent motive and disposition to the offender and the influence of the offender’s example and the conduct of others.

“In determining the use and degree of corporal punishment, consideration will be given to the age, sex, size, physical and emotional condition of the child.

“A disciplinary record shall be maintained by the classroom teacher and/or administrator and shall contain the name of the student, the type of misconduct, the type of corporal punishment administered, the name of the person administering the punishment, the name of the witness present and the date and time of the punishment.

“Disciplinary records shall be filed in the school office and made available to parents or students, whichever is appropriate.”