Okaloosa schools ban corporal punishment
"Corporal punishment certainly was a tool, but it was a mechanism or technique that wasn't absolutely necessary in view of the fact that we have a lot of different alternatives," superintendent Alex Tibbetts, who advocated the ban, told the Northwest Florida Daily News.
Already, a third of the county's schools had done away with paddling. In the rest of them, the number of times a student felt the sting had declined from nearly 500 in 2000 to less than 200 a year ago.
Florida still allows other districts to paddle kids, and many -- particularly in the Panhandle -- still do. But this past session, lawmakers took steps to limit the impact. In its revised zero-tolerance discipline law, it required districts that use corporal punishment to hold a public hearing every three years. Otherwise, its paddling policy is considered officially expired.