A school district in Missouri said it will reinstate spanking as a punishment for students, but only with parental consent.
Missouri’s Cassville school district is bringing back corporal punishment, a disciplinary measure they ditched in 2001 but decided to reinstate now after parents revealed in a survey they wanted additional discipline for their children.
Parents were notified that the school board approved of the policy in June to allow spanking once again, though the punishment will only come as a last resort and will only be doled out to students whose parents give permission.
Cassville School District Superintendent Merlyn Johnson said he didn’t take his job a year ago with plans to bring back the antiquated form of punishment – but that parents expressed interest in the idea.
‘My plan, when I came to Cassville, wasn’t to be known as the guy who brought corporal punishment back to Cassville. I didn’t want that to be my legacy and I still don’t,’ he told the .
‘But it is something that has happened on my watch and I’m OK with it,’ he added.
Families with children enrolled in the district will be asked to opt in or out. It’s unclear how many families have decided to allow their children to be paddled.
According to the superintendent, parents have long expressed frustration with the school’s disciplinary standards.
‘Parents have said “why can’t you paddle my student?” and we’re like “we can’t paddle your student, our policy does not support that,”‘ he said. ‘There had been conversation with parents and there had been requests from parents for us to look into it.’
While outsiders have had strong reactions to the controversial form of punishment, Johnson said parents have largely been grateful. Any parent in the school district who disagrees with corporal punishment can opt out, and their students will never be paddled.
‘This will only be for those parents who wish to be part of it,’ he added.
In 1977, the US Supreme Court ruled school corporal punishment to be constitutional.
Corporal punishment remains legal in 19 states. In addition to Missouri, it’s allowed in Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming.
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