Louisiana has the laxest rules for corporal punishment in the nation. And unbeknownst to most Louisiana residents, we’re not afraid to use it quite liberally in hundreds of schools on thousands of students every year.

Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:223 – Discipline of pupils; suspension from school, corporal punishment

A. Every teacher is authorized to hold every pupil to a strict accountability for any disorderly conduct in school or on the playground of the school, or on any school bus going to or returning from school, or during intermission or recess. Each parish and city school board shall have discretion in the use of corporal punishment. In those cases in which a parish or city school board decides to use corporal punishment, each parish or city school board shall adopt such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to implement and control any form of corporal punishment in the schools in its district.

In many cases students end up in emergency rooms for broken blood vessels, fractured tail bones and bloody and ruptured genitals.

It can unintentionally cause serious physical damage:

  • Boxing on the ear can burst an eardrum.
  • Shaking can cause a concussion, whiplash, blindness, serious brain damage, or even death
  • Spanking can injure muscles, the sciatic nerve, pelvis, coccyx (tail bone), genitals or spine.
  • Hitting a child’s hands can injure bones, blood vessels, joints and ligaments; it can induce premature osteoarthritis.
  • A child who is hit can accidentally fall and seriously injure themselves.

It can cause lasting psychological and emotional harm to children and those pathologies are carried well into adulthood.

It may trigger criminal, anti-social, violent, aggressive behavior later in life: A longitudinal study of 442 boys born in 1972, found that one out of every three boys — those who have a specific version of a gene — who was maltreated during childhood will be almost certain to exhibit anti-social or criminal behavior as an adult. Maltreatment was defined as including physical abuse. If this is true for boys subjected to physical abuse, one wonders if the violence associated with conventional levels of corporal punishment could also trigger violent or aggressive behavior later in life? Unfortunately, the study is recent, and researchers do not yet know what level of violence is needed to trigger the negative adult behavior. It can be argued that, in the absence of precise data, parents should err on the side of caution and avoid spanking at all costs. More details

It has been linked to many adult problems.
Corporal punishment studies have linked spanking during childhood to higher levels of adult depression, psychiatric problems, and addictions. Another study shows that children who were spanked have a lower IQ when compared to children whose parents used other methods of discipline and control.

It can escalate to abuse: Because a spanking works for a while, the parent often repeats the spanking whenever the child misbehaves. Corporal punishment may then become a standard response to any misbehavior. This can lead to increasingly frequent and harsher spanking which can exceed the “reasonable force” threshold and become abuse. According to the Institute for the Prevention of Child Abuse, “85% of all cases of physical abuse result from some form of over-discipline through the use of corporal punishment”. Each year about 44 Canadian children are known to have been killed by family members; 35 of them by parents. The figures for the United States are probably about 10 times higher.

It trains a child to use violence: Spanking can teach children that it is acceptable for the strong to use force against the weak — the concept “Might makes right” is regularly reinforced. They have an increased likelihood of becoming more aggressive towards their siblings, their fellow students, and (later in life) against their spouses and their own children. Violence as a way of behaving is a learned response.

From : http://www.religioustolerance.org/spankin4.htm

Corporal punishment results in higher levels of (children’s) aggression and lower levels of moral internalization and mental health. (Gershoff, E.T. (2002) Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review. Psychological Bulletin 128, 4, pp. 539-579.)

Corporal punishment used on children :

  • Reduces the likelihood that they will internalize society morals and learn the reasons for behaving correctly.
  • Increases their aggressive behaviors and hostile attributions that are predictive of future violent behavior
  • Increases antisocial behaviors such as stealing
  • Results in higher arrest rates when they are ages 17 through 45
  • Increases the likelihood that the individual will act violently with an adult romantic partner
  • Increases rates of major depression (Afifi, T.O., Brownridge, D.A., Cox, B.J., Jitender, S. (2006). Physical punishment, Childhood Abuse and Psychiatric Disorders. Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal v30 n10, pp 1093-1102)
  • Increases rates of alcohol abuse/dependence

Frankly, it is a perverted practice, and there are no legal restrictions preventing opposite sex adults from engaging in spanking adult age high schoolers.

Slapping or any other type of force used on the buttocks is a sexual violation: The buttocks are an erogenous zone of the human body. Their nerve system is connected to the body’s sexual nerve centers. Slapping them can involuntarily trigger feelings of sexual pleasure which become mixed with the pain. This can lead to confusion in the child’s mind which influences the way in which they express their sexuality as adults.

It is ineffective.

It is ineffective: Spanking a child will stop the child from misbehaving for the moment, but studies have shown that the child’s compliance will only last for a short time; corporal punishment actually increases the child’s non-compliant behavior in the future. Psychologist H. Stephen Glenn said “Corporal punishment is the least effective method [of discipline]. Punishment reinforces a failure identity. It reinforces rebellion, resistance, revenge and resentment. And, what people who spank children will learn is that it teaches more about you than it does about them that the whole goal is to crush the child. It’s not dignified, and it’s not respectful.

(.K. Ni, “Spanking denounced as ineffective, harmful — Expert at ‘Families Alive’ [conference] urges positive discipline,” Deseret News, 1998-MAY-9, at: http://nospank.org/n-c31.htm)

It lowers children’s intellectual development. Would it come as any surprise to you than many of our lowest performing districts are the heaviest employers of Corporal Punishment?

Spanking lowers a child’s IQ: A study at the University of New Hampshire, released in 1998-JUL, found that spanking children apparently slows down their intellectual development. 3 A study of 960 children found an average 4 point reduction in IQ among students, from and average IQ of 102 (above average) for children who are not spanked, to an average IQ 98 (below average) for who are. A reduction of 4 points is enough to have a significant negative functional effect on the students. More information

Jane Gadd, “Spanked children suffer intellectually,” The Globe and Mail, Toronto ON, 1998-JUL-30

It is disproportionately used against disabled, poor, abused and black students.

Corporal punishment tends to be disproportionately used on students who are minorities, male, poor, and/or have disabilities. (A Violent Education: Corporal Punishment of Children in U.S. Public Schools, ACLU Executive Summary, February 2009)

• Nationally, 41,972 students with disabilities received corporal punishment in the 2006-2007 school year.

• This condones the otherwise illegal battery to the ‘infirm’ (
R.S. 14:35.2)

Two School districts with the most liberal use of corporal punishment, using it on about half their students every year, are Richland and Morehouse Parishes.

Richland

042001 Delhi High School Richland Parish

75.4

Yes School In Decline D-
042002 Delhi Middle School Richland Parish

75.2

Yes School In Decline D-
042003 Delhi Elementary School Richland Parish

65.6

No Minimal Academic Growth D
042004 Holly Ridge Elementary School Richland Parish

97.5

Yes School In Decline C-
042005 Mangham Elementary School Richland Parish

93.6

Yes Minimal Academic Growth C
042006 Mangham High School Richland Parish

97.9

Yes Minimal Academic Growth C
042007 Mangham Junior High School Richland Parish

89.3

Yes School In Decline D-
042008 Rayville High School Richland Parish

67.9

No School In Decline D-
042009 Rayville Junior High School Richland Parish

89.3

No School In Decline D-
042010 Rayville Elementary School Richland Parish

67.6

No School In Decline D-
042012 Start Elementary School Richland Parish

105.9

Yes Minimal Academic Growth B

Morehouse

034001 Henry V. Adams Elementary School Morehouse Parish

75.0

No Minimal Academic Growth D
034002 Bastrop High School Morehouse Parish

87.8

No No Growth D-
034004 Morehouse Junior High School Morehouse Parish

76.6

Yes No Growth D-
034005 Beekman Junior High School Morehouse Parish

95.3

No School In Decline C-
034008 Cherry Ridge Elementary School Morehouse Parish

75.8

Yes Exemplary Academic Growth D+
034010 Delta Junior High School Morehouse Parish

80.3

Yes Minimal Academic Growth D
034014 Oak Hill Elementary School Morehouse Parish

75.9

Yes School In Decline D-
034016 Pine Grove Elementary School Morehouse Parish

87.8

No No Growth D-
034017 South Side Elementary School Morehouse Parish

76.9

Yes Minimal Academic Growth D
034023 Morehouse Magnet School Morehouse Parish

131.0

Yes Exemplary Academic Growth A+
034025 Morehouse Alternative School Morehouse Parish

34.1

Yes Minimal Academic Growth F

US Dept of Education statistics claim that some 2,090 students were spanked here in 2004-05, or about 46% of the enrollment, which would be at least 12 spankings per school day. (More than half of these were at just two almost-entirely-black elementary schools.) Corporal punishment may be given by any teacher, but not by bus drivers. The teacher may spank with his or her hand (it is fairly unusual for this to be specified in official rules), or else use a paddle 20″ long, 4″ wide and half an inch thick. . .

From: http://www.corpun.com/usscr2a.htm

If I had to hazard a guess, I would bet that these schools that employ corporal punishment the least have the highest scores, and vice versa. We can find out of course. The Louisiana Department of Education collected this data down to the individual school and incident level for the past 2 years but refuses all requests to release this data in summary or detail form. Instead they pretend they complied with the legislative resolution by providing this poorly scanned, repeatedly photocopied and barely legible survey that was conducted prior to the legislation. This is how John White deals with uncomfortable data, he hides it or lies about it, or provides weak and pathetic answers to claim he’s complied, but I’ll let you decide for yourself.

Do you think this document . . .


…hosted here: http://www.doe.state.la.us/topics/special_discipline.html

Answers this legislative request:

HR NO. 167 ENROLLED

Page 2 of 2

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that such information shall include but not be limited to the following:

(1) Each incident of corporal punishment as documented in writing, including the name of the student; the time, date, and details of the disciplinary infraction; and the name of all teachers and other school employees who witnessed the student’s misbehavior.

(2) A description of any prior behavioral supports that were provided to the student.

(3) The number of any prior behavioral supports provided for each incident of corporal punishment.

(4) The name of the individual who administered the corporal punishment and the name of any witness thereto, each of whom shall sign and date the required documentation.

(5) The findings of all investigations of employees accused of unauthorized corporal punishment involving students.

(6) A statistical analysis and comparison of all incidents of corporal punishment for each city, parish, or other local public school system.

(7) The number of incidents of corporal punishment administered to each student if more than one per student has occurred.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this Resolution be transmitted to the president of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the state superintendent of education.

(In case you were wondering which parishes reported they allow and employ it, and which don’t, here’s the details from the crappy scanned copy DOE provided the legislature.)


Do you think this pathetic scanned copy is adequate when the Louisiana Department of Education has collected all this data listed in the table below?

Did you know it was so many? Did you know the policy for how to use it, when to use it, and what to use to administer the punishment is left entirely up to the latest superintendent you hire? So if you have children in a school district that no longer employs corporal punishment, or employs it rarely, that could change overnight. And this state law also allows charter schools and voucher schools to use any method of physical punishment they deem necessary to maintain order. Despite what you may think, parents do not have a right to object. The state can put you in jail if you refuse to send you kids to school to be physically abused, thanks to our new truancy laws, but we also have laws that allow schools to beat your children with anything they find handy.

Neither the statutes nor the school board policies mandate that a spanking must be administered to a student. No school official is compelled to corporally punish a child. But by allowing corporal punishment, the legislature has recognized the need for such under certain circumstances. Significantly, in giving this discretion to our school systems, the legislature made no requirement that parents must first consent to such punishment. Nor has the legislature provided that parents be allowed to issue a carte blanche prohibition of a school’s exercising its rights under the statutes. To allow parents to unilaterally thwart the legally sanctioned decisions of school officials, could lead to troublesome, if not chaotic, results. There would be nothing to prevent ten, twenty or a hundred parents calling in to request that their child not be spanked. What if these same number of parents requested that no form of punishment whatsoever be administered to their children? The legislature, in its wisdom, chose not to leave the door open for such potentially dire consequences.

From: Setliff Vs Rapides School Board

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that corporal punishment cannot be used on prisoners, as it is inhumane and considered a cruel and unusual punishment, but we allow and freely proliferate the beating of 3 year olds in our schools.

In Hudson v McMillian (1992) the Court considered whether the beating by prison guards of a handcuffed inmate at Louisiana’s Angola prison violated the inmate’s Eighth Amendment rights. Voting 7 to 2, the Court found a violation of the cruel and unusual punishment clause even though the inmate suffered no permanent injuries or injuries that required hospitalization. In so holding, the Court rejected the lower court’s argument that only beatings that caused “significant injuries” (read as injuries that were permanent or required hospitalization) rose to the level of Eighth Amendment violations. In dissent, Justices Thomas and Scalia argued (controversially) that the Eighth Amendment was intended to reach beatings by guards at all–rather only judicially-imposed sentences

And the United Nations has even defined Corporal Punishment as amoral, aberrant and wrong.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

All but one of the federal governments who are members of the United Nations have signed it. The lone holdout is the United States.

The Convention defines a child as any “human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.

Article 19:
States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and education measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programs to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.

Way to lead the world, USA! Maybe China does have a point that our human rights record is nothing to gloat about? We also incarcerate more people than any other country in the world.

The incarceration rate in the United States of America is the highest in the world. As of 2009, the incarceration rate was 743 per 100,000 of national population (0.743%). In comparison, Russia had the second highest, at 577 per 100,000, Canada was 123rd in the world as 117 per 100,000, and China had 120 per 100,000. While Americans only represent about 5 percent of the world’s population, nearly one-quarter of the entire world’s inmates have been incarcerated in the United States in recent years. Imprisonment of America’s 2.3 million prisoners, costing $24,000 per inmate per year, and $5.1 billion in new prison construction, consumes $60 billion in budget expenditures

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_incarceration_rate

But I digress. Louisiana is the worst state of one of the worst countries in terms of children’s rights. John White knows this, and has chosen to hide this fact to curry favor with the governor by not allowing anything more embarrassing related to Louisiana and education to reach the light of day. He has stuck his head in the sand on this issue and allowed thousands of Louisiana children to be seriously injured and traumatized for the sake of his career and ambitions. White is a soulless, power hungry and driven automaton, in the coat pocket of privatization interests, and a product of corrupt political cronyism. He has no agenda other than to make himself look good and crush any children who dare get in his way. John White has refused every appeal I’m aware of to-date to produce this data. People have offered to compile it for him for free, because he laid-off or chased off many of the people with the knowledge and expertise to compile this data.

When you have no intent of ever complying with any requests for data from the public or the legislature, it’s a simple choice to make.

Make John White produce this data. Send this request to the media, TV, newspapers, other bloggers, and to the Louisiana Department of Education. Make him produce the counts. There are researchers waiting in the wings to do the analysis, if only given access. But we need a summary of this practice so people can educate themselves about what is going on in their backyard. Please do what you can and add your voice to mine.

Demographic Summary (To see if there are any obvious disparities, such as a disabled students and minorities getting beaten more often than their peers)

Students by reason code. . . (to see what exactly students are being beaten for across districts. . . )

Students Corporally Punished in Louisiana – by Reason
LEA Name LEA code BSSY Reason Code Reason Desc Action Count

(To see whom the districts have assigned to be their designated executioners, and if they are actually following their own policies)

Students Corporally Punished in Louisiana – by site and punisher

Punisher

LEA Name LEA code Site Name Site code BSSY Code Title Name Action Count

The full excel file ===>(CP )<====  that can be submitted to DOE is here. Send it to:

John.white@la.gov John White (NotsoSuperIntendent )

Kim.nesmith@la.gov Kim Nesmith (Data Quality Director)

Barry.landry@la.gov Barry Landry (Communications)

And see if you can get a response. I’d like them to get a few thousand requests, but even one or two would be nice.

And while you may live in a parish that doesn’t employ corporal punishment at the moment, or doesn’t routinely use it, that could all change with a single change of a principal or superintendent, and it will be your child coming home with a bloody backside, for something he may or may not have done. I punish my children when they do wrong, I’m sure you do too, but I don’t try to injure them with my punishments, emotionally or physically. This practice is wrong, for children, for parents and society.

I will leave you with these thoughts and word from Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, who banned the practice of corporal punishment at St Augustine’s in 2011.

“I do not believe the teachings of the Catholic Church, as we interpret them today in 2011, can possibly condone corporal punishment,” he explained to a Feb. 24 a town hall meeting at the Josephite-run St. Augustine High School in New Orleans. While parents have the authority to administer such punishment, he could not “possibly condone” the school doing so, the archdiocesan newspaper the Clarion Herald reports.

The archbishop explained that he believes that “hitting a young man does not build character.”

“My image of Jesus is that he said, ‘Let the children come to me.’ I cannot imagine Jesus paddling anyone.”

Corporal punishment can cause unintended physical injury and studies indicate it can cause physical, emotional and psychological damage, including loss of self-esteem and increased hostility toward authority, the archbishop said.

The archbishop had appointed Dr. Monica Applewhite, an expert in safe environment training and child protection, to represent the archdiocese on the committee reviewing the school’s practices.

According to the archbishop, she indicated that the school’s corporal punishment was both excessive and unreasonable and the school did not have effective safeguards to prevent future abuse.

She also said that at least three students were taken to the hospital after being paddled. There were also instances of students being paddled day after day and more than five or six times a day.

Applewhite said that St. Augustine is the last Catholic school in the country to use the wooden paddle.

As one of my former colleagues told me once when I inquired about EBR’s current policy on Corporal Punishment.

“We don’t beat our children in EBR, we love them.”

The rod is easy, what is hard is loving those who hurt us. The rod teaches children to fear us and that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems. Children will always misbehave, it’s our job as mentors and parents to show them the way, not the rod. The Catholic schools have led the way on this issue, but there is no shame in following good leader, but there is shame is following a bad one. There is shame in hiding a problem, so as not to address it, as John White and the Louisiana Department of Education is doing. Don’t let them. Send them the file. Contact the media. Contact your legislators.

State sanctioned child abuse is wrong. Now that you know of it, know that if you do nothing, your hands are no longer clean. Our children need you. Please lend your voices to mine so we can put a stop to this practice.

For a more in depth study/report created by/for the ACLU and Human Rights Watch please refer to this .pdf

Violent Education

or review this video produced by the US Dept of Education

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vt4v7KsFi8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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