Lawmaker spearheading push to ban school spanking in Colorado

Bill bans corporal punishment in schools, daycares
Posted at 11:34 PM, Jan 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-14 01:34:21-05

DENVER -- Colorado is one of 19 states that still allows corporal punishment in schools, but one state lawmaker wants to make school paddles a thing of the past.

"It is okay for me to go and hit an adult? But it's okay for us to go and hit kids?" asks State Representative Susan Lontine, D-Denver, who introduced a bill this week to ban spanking in public schools and state-licensed day cares. "I think it's important that we make it clear that spanking kids in schools is not okay."

Corporal punishment in schools has come under scrutiny after the Education Secretary urged state leaders to end the practice last year and after a controversial video showing a Georgia Principal trying to paddle a 5-year-old boy.

"School districts must have an appropriate and reasonable way of physically intervening with disruptive students, but those policies can’t break state child abuse laws," said Jeremy Meyer, a spokesman with the Colorado Department of Education.

Unlike in the South, where paddling is more prevalent, corporal punishment is rare in Colorado, according to federal statistics.

A 2009 report found no children in the state were subjected to physical discipline.

"Fortunately, it's not widely used in Colorado schools, but it shouldn't be used at all," said Kerrie Dallman, president of the Colorado Education Association. "And right now, where we see it used most is in some rural schools."

Dallman said not only is spanking ineffective and harmful to children, it is not meted out equally.

"It disproportionately impact students of color, males and students with disabilities," said Dallman. "So we're very eager to see corporal punishment removed from state statute."

Under the bill, corporal punishment does not include force used in self-defense, to stop another person from being hurt or property being damaged or to get a weapon away from a child.


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