Did you know that Kentucky is one of nineteen states in the country that still allow corporal punishment? A new proposed bill seeks to abolish the use of spanking in the Commonwealth and we'd like to know your thoughts about that method of punishment.
Currently in the Commonwealth, sixty-seven school districts still allow some form of corporal punishment. According to statewide stats, there were over five hundred incidents of corporal punishment during the 2016-2017 school system.
Some students, like Kentucky 8th grader Charlie Gardner (who attends Saint Agnes School in Louisville), believe that this method of punishment is outdated and should be abolished. Of course, the term "corporal punishment" covers a wide range of practices: paddling, spanking, flogging and other forms of physical discipline. As Charlie states in an editorial opinion, "I can't even begin to imagine the stress, pain, and mental strain endure by children my age that are getting paddled, in school." According to Charlie's report (written using stats and data from Kentucky Youth Advocates), corporal punishment has been associated with lower ACT scores, fatigue, and suicidal thoughts. And Charlie believes the state of Kentucky needs to change to "a more effective method for the teachers and our children."
Bill Request 17 seeks to abolish the process.
So, what exactly are the alternatives? According to Charlie and others with similar views about the ineffectiveness of corporal punishment, practices like "restorative justice, community service and demerit systems are effective in both curbing behaviors and improving the self-esteem of students."
Students like Charlie and other opponents are corporal punishment are now rallying Kentuckians to join them in their mission to support Bill Request 17. They have communicated with Education Committee chairperson Bam Carny, who intends to introduce the bill. They ask that you call your Kentucky lawmakers at (502) 564-8100 and encourage them to support the measure.