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Lafayette School District Considers Removing Corporal Punishment

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

The Lafayette County School District Board is considering a request from the administration of its schools to remove corporal punishment as a disciplinary action option.

On Monday, the board reviewed the request submitted by Assistant Superintendent Patrick Robinson on behalf of the school district’s principals and other administration members.

Robinson said the administrators of the LCSD would like to remove the option of using corporal punishment on students.

While it’s still allowed by state law, Robinson said administrators feel it’s ineffective and there is a concern of liability.

Corporal punishment is not allowed to be used on students who have disabilities and have an IEP – Individualized Education Program, or a temporary disability – or a 504 plan. If it’s used on a student with one of those education plans, the district could be at risk for a lawsuit.

“That’s up to the administration to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Board member Mike Gooch who said he was in favor of leaving corporal punishment as an option. “Just having it in the policy and some students knowing they might get paddled might keep them from doing things they shouldn’t. I know it did for me.”

Board member Judith Thompson said if the administrators do not feel comfortable having corporal punishment as an option, then the board should consider removing it.

“They’re the ones who have to deal with this,” she said.

Robinson said the high school hasn’t used corporal punishment as a disciplinary option for at least 10 years.

“This past school year it was used about eight or nine times [in the elementary schools],” he told the board.

Other forms of allowed disciplinary actions include in-school suspension, detentions and out-of-school suspension.

“Out-of-school suspension is generally a last resort because we want kids to be in school,” he said. “But each school in the district has its own position on behavior policies that they use. What works for high school students won’t necessarily work for elementary students.”

A vote is expected to be taken on whether to remove corporal punishment from the school’s disciplinary policy at the board’s July 1 meeting.

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