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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Okaloosa schools ban corporal punishment

Paddle There's going to be a lot more sparing the rod in in the Panhandle when classes resume next fall, as the Okaloosa School Board has decided to do away with corporal punishment -- effective immediately

"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.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:25am]


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