[tforum] Utah State House still allows beatings in school

Hal Smith rakovskii@hotmail.com
Sat, 17 Mar 2007 21:25:48 -0400

According to a Salt Lake Tribune article "Weird Laws Clutter the Utah Code" 
Utah parents can give written permission to teachers to hit their children 
even though none of Utah's public school do it. (Dan Harrie and Judy Fahys, 
January 18, 1998).

The law was passed in 1992 and says:
"A school employee may not inflict or cause the infliction of corporal 
punishment upon a child who is receiving services from the school, unless 
written permission has been given by the student's parent or guardian to do 
UTAH LAW 53A-11-802

In other words, who ever a child lives with- be it an adoptive parent, 
step-parent, or uncle- can tell teachers to hit the child with a thick board 
leaving redness and welts. The thick board is called a "paddle" and was 
invented to beat slaves.

Since the end of slavery in 1865 America's schools and institutions have 
step by step abolished corporal punishment. Hundreds of global and US 
organizations like the United Nations, the US Parent and Teacher 
Association, and the National Association of State Boards of Education have 
passed resolutions against corporal punishment. They believe students have 
the same right to be protected from physical violence as do wives, animals, 
and criminals.

According to Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, "the LDS church has 
consistently discouraged this approach to child rearing. President Hinckley: 
"called physical abuse of children unnecessary, unjustified and 
indefensible." He said: "I have never accepted the principle of 'spare the 
rod and spoil the child.' I am persuaded that violent fathers produce 
violent sons. Children don't need beating. They need love and 
encouragement." (http://www.religioustolerance.org/lds_intr.htm)

Then in 1997 the Utah Senate tried to ban school beatings completely.

The Salt Lake City Tribune wrote an excellent editorial supporting the 
proposal. It explained that beating students in front of their peers 
"implies they are less worthy of respect, less human than those whose whose 
parents say "keep your hands off my child."
"Hands Off Those Students," January 23, 1997 , 

But when the Senate sent the bill to the Utah House, the House disagreed and 
the bill died.

Now 10 years later the state Office of Education has a regulation against 
beating students but it does not override the law allowing beatings with 
guardian permission. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance stated in a 
2006 report that while it is not practiced, some school districts "do not 
have a formal ban in place."

While school staff may be under the impression that it is illegal, some 
districts are still printing handbooks saying teachers can beat students 
with permission.

For example, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that San Juan School District's 
school board unanimously opposed the idea of ending school beatings. Its 
handbook states:

A school employee may not inflict or cause the infliction of corporal 
punishment upon a student who is receiving services from the school unless 
written permission has been given by the student’s parent or guardian to do 
so. This applies to students under the age of eighteen (18), or under the 
age of twenty three(23) if the student is receiving educational services as 
an individual with a disability.

Kane School District's handbook has the same policy.

How is beating students with thick wooden board part of a "Safe School?"
And safe for who? Teachers who can't handle students criticizing them to 
their friends?

What kind of school lets guardians give permission to beat 22 year old 
disabled students?

On top of the disgusting policies of certain public schools, Utah's law and 
State Board regulations have no effect on school beatings in private 
schools. In fact, the government does not collect statistics on hitting in 
private schools, so there is no way to know for sure whether it is being 
used. Several teenagers have died in youth boot camps in Utah.

In 2006 SURVEY USA found that only a tiny minority - 15% - of Utah citizens 
supported corporal punishment in school. Why should their unfortunate 
children be humiliated in front of their protected classmates?

The poll's results show that Utah legislators have a responsibility to 
enforce the will of the overwhelming majority of its citizens and free 
children once and for all from the threat of school beatings.


"Hands Off Those Students," Salt Lake City Tribune, January 23 1997

Utah House Education Committee,
Representative Gregory H. Hughes, Chair
Republican - District 51

For the other members, click on Committee Membership: 


On the Matter of Spanking by Glenn I. Latham , 
Joseph F Smith's biography , 
Parenting the Lord's Way by Allen Leigh , 
The Book of Mormon's Opposition to Corporal Punisment , an essay , 
http://www.nopaddle.com/frames.asp?ch=11&se=127   <===(click next page at 
the bottom to go to the next page of the essay)
Discipline and the Plan of Salvation by Nola Redd , 

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