Missouri School District Brings Back Paddling To Discipline Its Students

A school district in southwestern Missouri has decided to bring back paddling as a last resort if students don’t respond to other methods of discipline, OzarksFirst.com reported.

The Cassville School District hadn’t used corporal punishment for more than two decades, but Superintendent Meryl Johnson told the website that a survey of parents inspired the change.

“The complaints that we have heard from some of our parents is that they don’t want their students suspended. They want another option,” Johnson said. “And so, this was just another option that we could use before we get to that point of suspension.”

Parents can opt in or out of the new paddling policy, but Johnson told the Springfield News-Leader he won’t know how many families are participating until later this week. The News-Leader reported that younger students would be struck with a paddle one or two times, and older students could be struck up to three times.

Some parents aren’t fans of the policy, such as Miranda Waltrip, who has three kids in Cassville schools.

“I do not think it is appropriate,” Waltrip told the paper. She suggests the district try other disciplinary options instead.

“I feel like if they had a different outlet like counseling services in school instead of corporal punishment, that would be the more appropriate answer,” Waltrip said. “At the end of the day, they are having to hold the child down and spank them or use whatever means that they can to make the child submissive when that is not the issue, it is the fact that they need to be heard because children act out for varied reasons.”

A 2016 Journal of Family Psychology study found that spanking is ineffective at increasing children’s short-term compliance and increases the risk of aggression and antisocial behavior.

Despite the research, Johnson told the News-Leader that the majority of families in the district are behind the policy.

“We’ve had people actually thank us for it,” he said. “Surprisingly, those on social media would probably be appalled to hear us say these things but the majority of people that I’ve run into have been supportive.”

Johnson told OzarksFirst.com that he does not anticipate a need for much padding and said only administrators would carry out the punishment, in the presence of another certified employee.

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