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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tallahassee Lawyer Wants Jackson County School Board to Abolish Corporal Punishment

Attorney Fred Flowers argues position before Jackson County School Board at Tuesday’s Meeting
By Sid Riley
At the regular school board meeting on Tuesday afternoon, a Tallahassee based lawyer spoke during the "Public Comments" section of the agenda. Mr. Fred Flowers stated that he was requesting the Board consider abolishing all corporal punishment within the Jackson County School System. He stated that to engage in "beating students with a three foot board" was barbaric and not in tune with modern society.
He said he understood the existing policy is within compliance with Florida statutes, but the board should go beyond that. "Beating students does not correct their behavior", he stated. ""If it worked you would not have Jackson Alternative School full of students with identified behavioral problems. Corporal punishment does not work, and it leaves emotional scars."
"There is no due process in the application of corporal punishment", Flowers continued. "Beatings are administered based on situations involving hearsay and no evidence. The Federal Government prohibits use of corporal punishment for "head start" students, and that is a strong indicator of what positions should be taken. The school has a "O" policy on drugs and weapons, and it should also have a "O" policy on the use of corporal punishment. Who decides how hard to hit, or how many times to hit? Do you punish the small less and the large more? Do you punish blacks more than whites?"
He recommended a citizen’s advisory board be established to help the school system deal with problem behavior. As his time expired, he thanked the Board and departed.
As he was leaving, Board Attorney Frank Bondurant made the statement that the existing policy was in full compliance with all Florida statutes. Board member Terry Nichols made the statement that the teachers needed the support of the Board, and any parent who wants to have their child excluded from any corporal punishment can do so.After the meeting and a few phone calls, the Jackson County Times learned that Mr. Flowers is currently representing the family of a Jackson County student against the Jackson County School Board, in which the student was allegedly given corporal punishment, and the child is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The case is pending at this time. We were unable to determine at which school the incident occurred.

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