After Input From Parents, School District Reinstates Spanking

Parents will have to opt-in, and it will be used as last resort
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2022 9:37 AM CDT
Missouri School District Brings Back Spanking
   (Getty Images / dannikonov)

"The complaints that we have heard from some of our parents is that they don't want their students suspended," said a Missouri school superintendent. "They want another option." And another option they will get. KOLR reports that the Cassville School District is reintroducing corporal punishment, permitting students to be paddled as a last resort so long as their parents have opted-in (each family will be asked to opt in or out). Superintendent Merlyn Johnson said the June decision by the school board spun out of the results of a survey sent to parents last year, in which they listed discipline as a major concern.

"Corporal punishment will be used only when other means of discipline have failed and then only in reasonable form, when the principal approves it," says Johnson. The paddling will only be carried out by administrators, and "another certified employee" will be present at the time. Johnson tells the Springfield News-Leader, "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. But it is something that has happened on my watch and I'm OK with it."

Johnson says he doesn't yet have a count of how many parents have opted in, but he does have anecdotal support: "We've had people actually thank us for it ... the majority of people that I've run into have been supportive." He apparently hasn't spoken with Miranda Waltrip, who has three children in the school system and tells KOLR, "I do not think it is appropriate. There are a lot of kids in the school district that don’t have parents that use resources the way that they should for their children." (This study found no good comes from spanking.)

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