Spanking Rare In Co. Schools; Principal Accused


The days of swatting students are mostly gone in Colorado’s public schools, the Denver Post says. Corporal punishment is allowed under state law, but many school districts have banned it, mainly over worries about possible lawsuits. Some 27 states have banned corporal punishment, with 10 others blocking it in more than half of their school districts, says World Corporal Punishment Research.

It goes on in some Colorado classrooms, including in Leadville, where elementary school principal Linda Lewis faces a misdemeanor charge of child abuse. Lewis is accused of spanking a student up to eight times on Oct. 15. Lewis is scheduled to appear in Eagle County court today. Witnesses said Lewis was helping restrain an out-of-control student. The child head-butted a teacher who was restraining him; after Lewis tried to calm him down, she turned him around and swatted him on the bottom.

In most places, the fear of lawsuits and the advent of anti-violence policies at schools have effectively brought an end to spanking students. “That’s where you get into child-abuse issues and possible legal challenges from parents,” said Gary Sibigtroth of the Colorado Department of Education. “Most schools to my knowledge don’t use corporal punishment anymore just because of those reasons.”

One program advocated in local schools is the Safe Communities-Safe Schools project, directed by the University of Colorado’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. It is aimed at cutting down on bullying and violence by involving everyone in a school, students and staff, along with parents. Students are taught that violence is unacceptable and that bystanders must get involved in discouraging verbal and physical assaults. Classes talk weekly about violence or bullying and students and teachers are encouraged to air grievances. Parents are called when their children are disciplined and asked to discourage their kids from acting out in class.


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