OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — A bill that sought to end corporal punishment in schools for students with disabilities failed in a close vote in the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The measure was authored by Rep. John Talley, who told FOX 25 earlier this year that he experienced corporal punishment growing up.
“For the most part it means that you bend over and someone uses a board to hit you on the behind,” said Talley, a Republican. “It can really hurt because I had it used on me when I was a kid.”
He didn't believe that was something a student with special needs should deal with.
“I just think a special needs student does not need to deal with that pain, because I think they would be wondering, why is this happening to me?” Talley told FOX 25 earlier this year.
Talley found some support from Rep. Anthony Moore, a fellow Republican who debated in favor of the bill on Tuesday. Moore thought it would be an easy bill to pass because he didn’t think anyone would actually argue for using corporal punishment on kids with special needs.
"I told the author that number one I would co-author this with him, but that this would be an easy bill to carry because there's nobody whos going to be for corporal punishment on students with disabilities," Rep. Moore said. "I apologize to the author because apparently I was wrong."
One lawmaker who debated against the bill was Rep. Jim Olsen, who was adamant corporal punishment isn't a bad thing and that God agrees.
"Proverbs 13:24, 'he that spareth his rod hateth his son: But he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.' So it tells us that if you will not use the rod on a disobedient child, you do not love that child," Rep. Olsen said.
Olsen, a Republican, said God’s word is also above the American Academy of Pediatrics word, which lawmakers have mentioned has done studies about the detrimental effects of corporal punishment.
Rep. Randy Randleman, who has worked in the mental health field and in 155 school districts, also debated against the bill. The Republican said that life should be a journey and corporal punishment is something that will rarely be used but parents should have the choice.
"Let me tell you a spanking is not abuse," Rep. Randleman said. He added that he hasn't used spanking as a punishment, but he's recommended it to parents and teachers.
According to Rep. Cyndi Munson, only 19 states allow corporal punishment in schools, with most of them being in the south and midwest.
Munson, a Democrat, debated in favor of the bill. She said she hadn't debated in favor of a Republican's bill since 2016. During Tuesday's debate, Munson shared her own experiences of corporal punishment, talking about what she went through growing up with her mother’s physical discipline tactics.
Rep. Forrest Bennett, another Democrat who supported the bill, was left dismayed by the outcome.
"It’s 2023 outside; it’s 1880 in here," Bennett said in a tweet.
For more local news delivered straight to your inbox sign up for our daily newsletter by clicking here.