Paddling ban would hit home
By COURTNEY ALBON,T-G Staff Writer, Ashland, February 7, 2009

Nestled in Gov. Ted Strickland's proposed education reform plan, among extended school years and conversion levies, is a proclamation banning corporal punishment in Ohio public schools.

If the ban sticks, Ohio will be one of 30 states that have banned spanking in school.

Only 17 Ohio school districts allow some form of corporal punishment, one of which is Hillsdale Local Schools. Hillsdale Elementary and Jeromesville Middle School principals reported at least five cases of spanking this school year -- four at the elementary school and one at the middle school. Hillsdale High School principal Kevin Reidy said he hasn't had to administer the punishment any of the five years he's been an administrator.

The Ohio Senate in 1994 passed a limited paddling ban, which allowed boards of education to decide whether the practice would be allowed in their districts. The Hillsdale board commissioned community members to form a committee to determine whether the community approved of the practice. Superintendent Joel Roscoe said the community was "overwhelmingly in favor" of the punishment, prompting the board to pass a resolution allowing the use of corporal punishment to continue.

Roscoe said district administrators keep in close contact with parents to make sure they are comfortable with the punishment. Jeromesville Middle School principal Tom Gaus said he will not paddle a child unless a parent is present.

"Parents have to come in and witness it. I always want to make sure we're on the same side," Gaus said.

In his 11 years as an administrator, Gaus said he has only paddled three children.

Hillsdale Elementary School principal Mike Shambre said he spanks about four children each year, but only as a last resort and with parental permission.

Shambre said "the board" usually sends a strong message to kids that don't respond to other disciplinary methods.

"To be honest, I hate to see it go," Shambre said. "I'm not a believer in beating kids, but, hey, it worked for me."

Strickland said in a Thursday press release that the move was "key to creating ideal learning environments for Ohio children" and doesn't fit in a 21st century classroom.

According to the most recent information compiled by the Center for Effective Discipline -- a nonprofit organization against corporal punishment -- 672 children were paddled in Ohio schools during the 2006-07 school year.

Courtney Albon can be reached at 419-281-0581 ext. 243 or

Posted by Jordan Riak

The fanciful uses of language whenever corporal punishment is debated never cease to amaze me. It seems all one has to do to derail honest discussion is to render the topic as wholesome comedy. Call it paddling, switching, belting, pops, licks, whacking, a dose of the principal's board of education applied to the seat of learning -- you know what I mean. (I think I may have just discovered the source of the word "slapstick.")

But now consider what happens when one does exactly the same thing to a non-consenting adult. Instantly it ceases to be funny. It becomes: "indecent assault with a dangerous weapon," or "sexual battery." And where does that lead? The victim dials 911 and the perpetrator gets arrested, charged and, if convicted, does jail time.

Here's my advice to families that have no choice but to entrust the safety and care of their children to schools that indulge in buttocks beating. Every child should be armed at all times with a fully charged cell phone, and be skilled at dialing 911 without having to look at the keys. That would put a stop to it.

Posted by dkhiller

We aren't talking about "beating" children. There is certainly nothing wrong with a whack on the behind. It certainly is a great deterrent and is needed a whole lot more to serve as a reminder of obeying the rules. It is a real shame that there is absolutely no discipline to kids today. It is no wonder they control the classrooms and not the teachers.

Posted by jacksprat

"I'm not a believer of beating kids, but, hey, it worked for me."

I may move to the Hillsdale district, and I must say, if you touch my kids, there will be a quote in the paper from me that states, "I'm not a believer of beating school administrators, but, hey, it worked for me."

Posted by momof5

Strickland says this measure is "key to creating ideal learning environments." Actually, Governor, the best way to creat an ideal learning environment is to have kids behaving, and if you think the paddle isn't a huge deterrent to young kids, you are wrong. When I was in middle school at Loudonville in the early 80's, that paddle was one HUGE deterrent for all of us. When someone was in the hall getting "whacked," as we called it, we all sat there somberly and were very glad it was not our behind out there and were reminded to follow the rules. I am sure a paddling wasn't nearly as bad as we imagined it would be, but the thought was enough to keep us in line.

Posted by nosense

I think Ashland High School should have more spankings, maybe those bad boys wouldn't be so mean.

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