New Mexico — Corporal punishment still exists despite push
By Milan Simonich
The Daily Times, March 1, 2011

SANTA FE A bill to outlaw paddling in public schools failed Monday on an 18-18 vote of the state Senate.

Sen. Cynthia Nava, D-Las Cruces, proposed eliminating corporal punishment as a legal form of discipline under state law.

Senators from rural areas resisted her, saying discipline policies ought to be left to local school boards.

More than half of the state's 89 school districts have enrollments of fewer than 1,000 students.

Senators who opposed Nava said acceptable discipline policies in those places may differ from urban areas, which stopped paddling long ago.

Nava, herself the superintendent of the Gadsden Independent School District, wanted to ban spanking and leave school districts with four other forms of punishment.

They are "in-school suspension," school service, out-of-school suspension and expulsion.

Though Nava lost the battle, she may not be beaten.

Six senators were absent Monday during the vote on corporal punishment. Also missing was Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, who as president of the Senate normally would have broken the tie vote.

Nava may ask that her bill be reconsidered when more senators and Sanchez are in the chamber.

Nava's proposal is SB 319.

Milan Simonich: msimonich@tnmnp.com


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