CASSVILLE, Mo.– An old-school discipline method is making its way back to school in one local school district.
We have learned that the Cassville School District is bringing back corporal punishment for students. Under the new policy, students could be punished with a paddle. Administrators say it would be the last resort for parents and faculty members if other means of discipline do not work.
The superintendent said this is the result of a survey sent out to parents last year. The parents responded saying discipline is one of their biggest concerns.
One parent of Cassville students said she was shocked by the decision.
“I do not think it is appropriate,” said Miranda Waltrip. “You know, 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.”
Waltrip has three kids in Cassville schools.
She said she was shocked to hear students opted in and could be disciplined with a paddle. Waltrip said she would like to see the district try other methods.
“You know, I feel like if they had a different outlet like counseling services and 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.”
Waltrip said this policy is a snapshot of the community in Cassville.
“We live in a really small community where people were raised a certain way and they’re kind of blanketed in that fact that they grew up having discipline and swats. And so, for them, it’s like going back to the good old days but it’s not because it’s going to do more harm than good at the end of the day.”
Superintendent Dr. Meryl Johnson said the policy change was an answer to keeping kids in classrooms after parents said suspensions were one of their biggest concerns last school year.
“The complaints that we have heard from some of our parents is that they don’t want their students suspended. They want another option,” Johnson said. “And so, this was just another option that we could use before we get to that point of suspension.”
Students will only receive the new discipline if parents opt their children in. Dr. Johnson says the paddle-based discipline will only be used as a last resort.
“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.