Education

A bill to end corporal punishment in Kentucky schools is facing hurdles clearing a state senate committee, according to advocates for the measure.

House lawmakers passed the ban on corporal punishment 65-17 in February. But supporters of the ban say it’s having trouble getting heard in the senate education committee.

Kentucky Youth Advocates director Terry Brooks said some lawmakers in the committee believe the matter should be up to local school boards.

“Frankly I am a little surprised and disappointed,” Brooks said in an interview.

“The General Assembly does not apply local autonomy when it comes to school resource officers, or assessment and accountability. It should not apply it when it comes to corporal punishment,” he said.

Brooks said some members of the senate believe that corporal punishment is effective, despite a large body of research showing corporal punishment doesn’t work and has negative impacts on child behavior and mental health.

Senate education committee chair Max Wise (R-Campbellsville) did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the future of the bill.

The bill needs to clear a senate committee before it can be sent to the full body.

Kentucky is one of 19 states where it’s legal for school staff to hit students as a form of punishment. Last year, Kentucky educators used the paddle on students 284 times in 13 districts.

 

 

 

Jess Clark is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.