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Posted: 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013

When is corporal punishment abuse?

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Ohio law says corporal punishment is allowed as the adult in charge, "does not create a substantial risk to the health of safety of the child." However, there are so many variables in how to interpret the law, most school leaders have banned corporal punishment.

By Letitia Perry

Corporal punishment was once acceptable at home and at school. Today, some forms of discipline that were accepted back then, are not only 
unacceptable, but they are illegal.

Recently, a local high school teacher was caught on video tape punching a disabled student. The teacher was charged with abuse and convicted. 

A local day care worker was also caught on camera punching a disabled student. Criminal charges were eventually dropped. 

We found many parents are sharply divided over discipline.

"If they're running from the teacher, if they're hitting the teacher, throwing things, breaking things, destroying things...yes, a paddle's okay," said Lori Brown 
of Kettering. Paddling never hurt me; I got a few in school."

"Maybe a time out or something of that nature, but I'd rather someone else not lay their hands on my child," said Brandon Hamilton of Dayton. 

"Some kids are out of line and they need to be taught," said Sally Fryman of Dayton. 

Sister Virginia Lacy spent 50 years teaching in Dayton area Parochial schools. She remembers pulling out a paddle when a student exhibited bad behavior. 

"If you paddled them, the parents would probably give them another paddling when they got home if they found out about it. That would never happen probably 
in today's world, " said Lacy. "It's very different now, and I know that teachers have to be extremely cautious." 

Ohio law says corporal punishment is allowed as the adult in charge, "does not create a substantial risk to the health of safety of the child."

However, there are so many variables in how to interpret the law, most school leaders have banned corporal punishment.

"It goes back to when teachers and principals did paddle in the schools and left some severe bruising. They still can use corporal punishment in the schools, they just 
choose not to. I think a lot of it has to do with liability," said Stefania Falke, of Clark County Children Services. 

So for now, paddling is not part of the curriculum in most local schools. Students in the Dayton Public School system are being taught good conduct to change bad behavior.

"We look at it as changing the behavior so that a child knows right from wrong," said Lori Ward, Superintendent of Dayton Public Schools.

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