Few Ohio schools were still using corporal punishment. In l985, 68,000 school children were hit in Ohio schools but the number of children had diminished to ll0 children in the 2007-08 school year. No credible research supports effectiveness of corporal punishment. Instead, studies show that it is harmful and ineffective.
School corporal punishment has often led to injuries of students and lawsuits against school boards. The ban on school corporal punishment puts Ohio among non-paddling states -- states with mostly higher academic rankings, higher graduation levels and less violence than paddling states. “The ban is a victory for Ohio’s families and children. We’ll have no more black and blue days for Ohio’s school children,” said Nadine Block, Executive Director of the Center for Effective Discipline. “The leadership of Governor Strickland has made this possible!”
HISTORY OF THE OHIO CORPORAL PUNISHMENT LAW
Prior to l985, no public schools in Ohio banned corporal punishment. Among states, only Ohio, North Carolina and Florida prohibited local boards from doing so. In Ohio, an Attorney General’s opinion did not permit local boards to ban its use.
Prior to l985, five states banned school corporal punishment: New Jersey (l867), Massachusetts (l972), Hawaii (l973), Maine (l976) and Vermont (l984).
In l983, the Ohio Coalition for More Effective School Discipline (now the Center for Effective Discipline) began an effort to get legislation allowing local boards to ban corporal punishment. Ultimately, 35 Ohio organizations became members of the Coalition.
In l984, more than 68,000 students were paddled in Ohio public schools, many of them multiple times (US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights).
In l985, the efforts of Senator Oliver Ocasek and the Ohio Coalition for More Effective School Discipline bore fruit and SB 385 became effective allowing local school boards to ban corporal punishment. Bexley City Schools became the first district to do so. All but one (Canton City Schools) of the largest city school boards banned it within the next three or four years.
A l989 survey of superintendents in districts banning corporal punishment done by the Center for Effective Discipline found that school boards were banning corporal punishment because of its ineffectiveness as a method of discipline, as protection from lawsuits, because of a perception of it not being a humane measure, community pressure and as a reaction to bad incidents or abuse. The survey concluded that student behavior problems had lessened or remained stable after corporal punishment was banned and at least twelve behavioral interventions were more effective than corporal punishment. These included parent conferences, behavior contracts, conferences with students, in-school suspension, referrals to school psychologists or counselors, Saturday school and referrals to community agencies.
In l990, a school reform measure became law which created EMIS and required reporting of school district data to the Ohio Department of Education. The measure included annual reporting of the number of incidents of corporal punishment administration and the number of students struck in each district. The Center for Effective Discipline began an annual survey of superintendents of districts reporting corporal punishment to EMIS to verify numbers reported as there were sometimes reporting errors from the district level. The Center for Effective Discipline annually designated a “Top Hitter Award of Dishonor” to districts with high paddling rates.
By l990, a survey of Catholic Diocesan schools by the Center for Effective Discipline found that all Ohio Catholic Diocesan schools had banned corporal punishment.
Between l986 and l993 multiple bills were introduced to ban school corporal punishment. Major education organizations fought the bills. Their testimony primarily used the “local control” argument. According to records of the Center for Effective Discipline, no empirical studies supporting corporal punishment were offered in opposition testimony on the bills. Opposition testimony in addition to the “local control” position argued (l) anecdotal evidence -“I got hit when I was a kid and I turned out OK”, (2) conjecture - “If we stop hitting kids, there will be chaos in schools”, and (3) “The bible says so”.
Between l985 and l993, about l00 districts banned corporal punishment voluntarily.
In l992, the Ohio State Board of Education passed a resolution calling on school boards to ban corporal punishment. In 2008, the State Board reaffirmed and strengthened that position and now calls for a legislative ban.
In l993, a bill sponsored by Senators Dick Schafrath and Lee Fisher was passed by the Ohio legislature banning corporal punishment September l, 1994 unless school districts followed a number of procedures. The law allowed parents, for the first time in Ohio, to opt out of corporal punishment for their children by following district notification procedures in districts maintaining its use.
In l997-98, an EMIS report and follow-up survey by the Center for Effective Discipline, found a total of 950 students paddled in that school year, a decline from the 68,000 students paddled prior to the first corporal punishment law in l985 allowing local boards to ban its use.
In 2005-06, an EMIS report and follow-up survey by the Center for Effective Discipline found 270 students were hit 453 times in l7 school districts.
In 2007-2008, an EMIS report and follow-up survey by the Center found 110 students were hit 131 times in six school districts.
In 2008, the Ohio State Board of Education adopted a position calling for a legislative ban on school corporal punishment.
In June, 2009, 29 states had banned school corporal punishment including nearby states WV, PA, MI, MN, IA, and WI.
In July, 2009 Governor Ted Strickland signed into law a ban on school corporal punishment in Ohio. The Governor proposed a ban on its use in HB 1, the state biennial budget bill. The proposal included a ban on corporal punishment in chartered non-public schools. That part of the proposal was stricken in conference committee in the final bill. Corporal punishment was banned in all public schools making Ohio the 30th state to ban the practice. The Center for Effective Discipline led a coalition of 50 organizations supporting the ban.
By Center for Effective Discipline, 7-09