The Cincinnati Enquirer, October 21, 1998

Keep paddling out of schools, panel says, By Bernie Mixon

NORTH COLLEGE HILL -- A task force studying corporal punishment voted Tuesday to recommend the district not reinstate the policy.

It will now be up the board of education to act on the recommendation of the 20-member Secondary Local Discipline Task Force. The recommendation will be brought before the board at its November meeting.

The task force voted 15-2 in recommending keeping the paddle out of the classroom during a meeting in the gymnasium at Becker Elementary School.

"Some people could support corporal punishment, but because of the input of the community and potential problems for faculty and administration, they voted against it," said Jean Parmenter, co-chair of the task force and a member of the district's board of education. She voted against reinstatement.

Parent Barbara Graves voted to reinstate corporal punishment. "I discipline my child and feel no one else has to, but I can see a whole different breed of kids where the teacher doesn't have control," she said. "They should have something."

In 1993, the district banned corporal punishment as a discipline method. Under legislation that took effect Sept. 1, 1994, corporal punishment was abolished in all Ohio public school districts unless a district follows a task force's recommendation for its use.

At two public meetings held in September, parents overwhelmingly were against paddling in the schools, although a couple were in favor of it.

Some parents said while they disapproved of corporal punishment, they urged greater parental responsibility and working with teachers to solve discipline problems in the classroom.

Parents at the meeting Tuesday had mixed feelings about corporal punishment.

"I would have no problem with it if they would establish guidelines, and if parents were willing to come in and state their case (in each corporal punishment situation)," said Carlos Ruble, a parent. Mr. Ruble said he came to the meeting opposed to corporal punishment but changed his mind during the discussion.

Mrs. Parmenter, co-chair of the task force and a school board member, said she was surprised that so many parents were against bringing the paddle back to the classroom.

"In any individual conversation I had with folks, I was hearing that people wanted it," said Mrs. Parmenter. "I was not expecting that or the size of the crowd."

Mrs. Parmenter said she was pleased with the numbers of people attending the meetings.

"If nothing else, it gets community members to a public forum." The school board will have 30 days after receiving the recommendation to act on it, Mrs. Parmenter said.

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