(AP) HARRISBURG Pennsylvania's public educators can no longer spank their students.
Regulations barring paddling and other physical discipline that causes pain and fear in students took effect Saturday with the new issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the state's official publication for new laws and rules.
This makes Pennsylvania the 28th state to ban the use of corporal punishment, according to the Center for Effective Discipline, a Columbus, Ohio-based advocacy group opposed to the practice.
For most schools, the new rule that was approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission in October will have little impact.
Most districts across the state are believed to have stopped practicing corporal punishment years ago.
But some, such as the Carlisle Area School District, still had a policy permitting it on their books.
John Friend, Carlisle's assistant superintendent, said the school board is in the process of revising its policies and plans to remove that one.
"We recognize that we should have probably had it out before now," Friend said. He suspects paddlings have not been used in the district's schools since the early 1980s.
State lawmakers and the State Board of Education have been pushing for this ban on corporal punishment for well over a decade, calling it ineffective and inappropriate.
However, their efforts were stymied by proponents of the practice.
"To remove it from the tool kits of our educators is to leave teachers in the classroom and school districts very much with one arm behind their back," Rep. Samuel Rohrer, R-Berks, said at a House Education Committee hearing.
But Edith Isacke, a board member who led the push for banning the practice, said, "We don't want children to be afraid to go to school."
Isacke clarified in testimony to the House Education Committee that the corporal punishment ban still allows standing in a corner, running an extra lap or repetitive writing of sentences.
(© 2005 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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