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30th Aug 2022

Students to be punished with a paddle as school brings back corporal punishment

April Curtin

Naughty school girl stands in the corridor after being sent out of class.

‘We’ve had people actually thank us for it,’ a school chief said

Students in one town could face physical punishment if they misbehave at school under new rules – which some parents apparently asked for in the first place.

Missouri is one of 19 states where corporal punishment is still legal in the US, and while the highly-controversial method hasn’t been used in schools in the district of Cassville since 2001, The Mirror reports that it is now making a comeback.

New proposals that were approved by the school board in June will see misbehaving students struck with a wooden paddle, but only as a last resort and with written permission from parents.

The rules surrounding who is punished and where are also specific.

Only “certified personnel” will be allowed to strike the children, and only when “alternative means of discipline have failed”.

Children will not be struck in front of other students but they will be struck in front of another school employee, who will act as a witness.

The maximum number of strikes a child can receive will also depend on their age: younger students will be hit on the buttocks once or twice, while for older students, it could be up to three times.

Parents were recently notified about the new rules but will have to give written permission for it to happen – opting in or out for their child.

Though by the sounds of it, some will most definitely be giving consent.

Speaking to the Springfield Newsleader, Cassville school district superintendent Merlyn Johnson explained: “Parents have said ‘why can’t you paddle my student?’

“There had been requests from parents for us to look into it.”

“We’ve had people actually thank us for it,” he added.

Unsurprisingly, the move has been met with significant protest – including from the pupils themselves.

School seniors Kalia Miller and Gabe Moore are leading a new, student-led initiative called Students Against Abusive Policies, which over 100 other schoolchildren have joined.

Miller told the Springfield Newsleader that students are frightened about being hit by an adult, particularly female students, who fear being struck with another man in the room.

“Some students see it as abuse and it is abuse,” she said.

In the US, individual states make their own decisions on corporal punishment. Over 70,300 students were subjected to it across the country in 2018, National Centre of Education Statistics data shows. Meanwhile, in the UK, corporal punishment has been banned since 1986.

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