Corporal Punishment Still An Issue For Schools

You might spank your children, but you may not want a teacher or a principal pulling out a paddle. We found out, 31 states have banned corporal punishment in public schools. But Oklahoma is not one of those. Here, it is up to each district to decide. Channel 8's Kim Jackson found one school willing to talk about it.

We found two paddles in Berryhill Public School's principal's office. One of them has been used some. The other hardly at all. One reason is because padding is strongly discouraged here.

At home or at school, spanking is a controversial issue.

"My parents paddled me and I felt like I did not have any self esteem issues," said Berryhill Superintendent, Michael Campbell.

Campbell says he told principals, no more paddling, even though it is part of the school policy.

"We give them guidelines and direction and you assume they are not going to be angry at a child. You would like to think that would never happen," said Campbell.

But there are controversial studies that deal with emotional growth and spanking. The threat of bruising a child is frightening to districts.

"Some children will mark more severely than others and bruise and you hate that and that is not what our intent is at all. That just happens with paddling. That is why we don't like to paddle here at Berryhill.

Tulsa and Oklahoma City Public Schools don't paddle. But smaller districts might. And besides hurting a child, schools must consider a child's home life--if they are abused or not.

"As a principal, I didn't use it to paddle a child. I took it as a case by case deal. I wasn't going to paddle a child at school knowing they were not being treated well at home," said Campbell.

Schools have to protect students, and here in Berryhill. The feeling is, paddles may do more harm than good.

Berryhill administrators say, while they don't paddle, if parents were to request it, they would consider it.