Taiwan last week became the 109th country to ban all school corporal punishment, in private schools as well as public! Sonya Hsieh, a teacher from Taiwan exploring positive school discipline in the U.S. on a Taiwan Government grant, spoke last night in my home at the annual meeting of the Center for Effective Discipline. She said that teachers there had been striking students with flexible bamboo canes, or they used a flexible plastic strip with a hand-shaped end called a "love hand" to slap the upturned hands of students. An A+ to the Yuan, the legislative body in Taiwan.
Earlier this year our organization completed a survey of all 175 Catholic Diocesan School Systems in the 50 states, and we were able to verify what we had only been able to guess at -- all Diocesan Catholic Schools in the U.S. prohibit corporal punishment! Use that info with Catholic legislators and school board members. An A- to the Catholic Schools in the U.S. We withhold a higher grade until the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops enact a national policy banning cp, rather than leaving it up to the local dioceses which then are free to change the policy [very unlikely].
In Ohio a bill that would have granted immunity to educators for injuries they inflict on students when using corporal punishment has died in committee. The bill had hearings, and looked like it might pass, but didn't make it to a vote after much lobbying and testimony led by Nadine Block, Director of our Center for Effective Discipline. Whew. An A+ to Nadine and the Center, an F to Ohio Rep. Keith Faber and his 28 co-sponsors. Ohio now has a Democratic governor, a psychologist, whom we believe would veto such a bill if it gets resurrected next year.
In Utah, it looks like there is no use of corporal punishment at all in the 40 districts there, but not all 40 have specific policies prohibiting cp, so we don't count them as a ban. The legislature needs to step up to the plate and make practice into official policy, law. Utah gets a B-. If the few remaining districts without bans get them done, we can count UT as state #29. I've given them info, sample policies, and will check with them after the first of the year.
Less positive, the Kentucky Center for School Safety this week issued its annual report and revealed an increase in use of corporal punishment in that state, up by 385 students struck to a total now of 3,460. That is a 12% increase, the opposite of trends in the rest of the nation. The Kentucky legislature gets an F for ignoring this problem.
There are some exciting things in early planning stages that I'll be sharing with you more during the next year. I hope you are all enjoying the end of the year holidays. And if any of you are attending the Child Safe conference in Cocoa Beach Florida January 18 & 19, I'll be speaking about U.S. and Worldwide trends and actions on school corporal punishment. Please stop and say hi.
Robert E. Fathman, Ph.D., President
National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools
5805 Tarton Circle N.
Dublin, OH 43017