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Letter to Dr. Joseph Bailey

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Dr. Bailey,

I have been working with many other individuals and groups for the past 2 years to Abolish Physical/Corporal Punishment of children in Schools, already ILLEGAL in Schools in 30 States. I am unable to protect my own 3 children (whom we do not hit) from witnessing/overhearing teachers threaten/hit students with wooden paddles to deliberately inflict physical pain and suffering to Punish them for minor infractions such as not turning in homework, etc. Tennessee State Law does NOT require Parental Consent of Notification for children to by physically punished in Schools.

Federal and State Government officials have informed us that the very important matter of our children's health and safety in schools in left up to autonomous school district governing boards.

We made a written/verbal presentation in April 2008 to our school district board members during "National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month" to demand the Prohibit Physical/Corporal Punishment of Children in our Schools and they have not responded, they have IGNORED US!

I have collected several news articles of children suffering injuries due to paddling in school. One news headline reads "Nearly 60,000 Spanking in Miss. Schools last year" and Leflore County, Miss. was sued twice in one month for $500,000 each time by families of elementary school children injured by paddling. Our nation's most trusted Children's Health and Education Organizations have issued official positions statements Opposing Corporal Punishment of Children in Schools. Government Officials continue to IGNORE Research that indicates Corporal Punishment is harmful to children and contributes to social ills.

A federal lawsuit was filed 2/22/2010 in Miss. to ban paddling in schools which also seeks a declaration that Corporal Punishment of Children in Schools in Unconstitutional.

The Coalition Against School Paddling filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights against the 20 School Paddling States.

Recent news headlines read "Girls Spanked, Suspended for Skimpy Prom Dresses" at Oxford High School, Alabama and "Stopping bullying before it starts" related that elementary school children in Kennett, MO are punished for bullying by being hit with wooden paddles to deliberately inflict physical pain and suffering as Punishment known as Corporal Punishment or Paddling or by being suspended.

Hitting children in schools to Punish them is NOT the answer! U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) plans to introduce legislation in U.S. Congress to ban the use of physical discipline in public schools.

At a recent hearing by the Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee, McCarthy said:

The federal government has outlawed physical punishment in prisons, jails and medical facilities. Yet our children sitting in a classroom are targets for hitting. We know safe, effective, evidence-based strategies are available to support children who display challenging behaviors in school settings.

Hitting children in school does not help them achieve academic success.

Hitting children in school is not an effective discipline tactic. Hitting children in school does not make them feel safe in school. Instead, they feel humiliated, helpless, depressed, and angry. Hitting children teaches them that it is a legitimate way to handle conflict.

We are adults. We shouldn’t be hitting kids in schools. Instead, we, as a nation, should move toward these positive strategies when it comes to our school children.

It has been a 150 years since the first state banned this practice in schools. Since then, 29 states have done the same. But it is still occurring every day in our nation and we still have hundreds of thousands of students being hit in our schools.

Julie Worley

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