Posted July 23, 2008 – To spank or not to spank … that’s the question in Twiggs County, Ga., where principals are breaking out their paddles this fall to deter misbehaving.
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It won’t be the first time that the school district puts the wood to students who act up. Last year, for example, a second-grader was swatted for throwing pencils, as were others who were deemed too unruly for the standard time-out or other methods of discipline, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. But the policy was rarely used.
Teachers and administrators can opt out if they desire, and parents must sign a permission slip to allow their children to be paddled.
"We had a policy but we weren't using it," Ethel Stanley, a member of the school board, told the newspaper. "Sometimes smaller kids will obey better if they have a paddling. The more you give them rope, the more they try. It's something to deter them," she said.
With the Twiggs system experiencing 300 incidents of misconduct – including 62 fights – last year alone, officials say an occasional spanking could help reduce high teacher turnover. The biggest culprits are middle-school students, the campus police chief says. But not everybody agrees that sparing the rod spoils the child.
"Corporal punishment is not an appropriate means of discipline in Houston County ( Ga. ) schools," said Robin Hines, assistant superintendent for school operations. "We have a great deal of confidence in our progressive discipline procedures that utilize classroom strategies as well as school-wide procedures that include detention, in-school suspension and home suspension."
Twenty-eight states do not allow corporal punishment in schools. "It's a hotly debated issue," Sharon Patterson, superintendent of the Bibb County school system, told the Journal-Constitution. "We do use corporal punishment, but it can't be used as a first line of discipline."
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