CASSVILLE, Mo. (KOLR) – An old-school discipline method is making its way back into some Missouri schools.
The Cassville School District in Southern Missouri is bringing back corporal punishment under a new policy that allows students to be punished with a paddle. Administrators say it would be the last resort if other means of discipline do not work.
The superintendent said the change is the result of a survey sent out last year. Parents who responded said discipline was one of their biggest concerns.
“The complaints that we have heard from some of our parents is that they don’t want their students suspended. They want another option,” said Superintendent Meryl Johnson. “And so, this was just another option that we could use before we get to that point of suspension.”
“I do not think it is appropriate,” said Miranda Waltrip, who has three kids in Cassville schools. She said she’d like to see the district try different ways of getting through to students.
“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.”
Students will only receive the new discipline if parents opt their children in, Johnson said.
“Corporal punishment will be used only when other means of discipline have failed and then only in reasonable form, when the principal approves it,” Johnson said.
Dr. Johnson said he does not anticipate using this punishment often, but if the principal punishes a child this way it will be done by administrators only and only in the presence of another certified employee.
Parents can also opt-in or opt-out at any point in the school year.