Lawmakers hearing bill to ban corporal punishment in Kentucky schools

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) -- The House committee on education in Kentucky will hear testimony on House Bill 393 which would ban corporal punishment, or paddling, in schools.

Kentucky is one of 19 states that still allows paddling in the public school system. 31 states have banned it.

HB393, which is sponsored by Representatives Jim Wayne and Mary Lou Marzian, would prohibit school administrators, teachers or other certified personnel who are employed by a school district from using corporal physical discipline, including the use of spanking, shaking, or paddling, as a means of punishment.

Several dozen students sat inside the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday, asking legislators to ban the practice of corporal punishment in schools.

"Our teachers always tell us do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Turn the other cheek. Violence is never a solution. When in doubt, talk it out," said Allie Hoover, who is an 8th grader at Notre Dame Academy. "We couldn't believe that anyone would advocate hitting children, especially in a school setting."

The students from Notre Dame Academy and St. Agnes in Louisville researched corporal punishment and found 25 schools districts reported using it. The Department of Education recorded corporal punishment used as a discipline resolution on more than 300 students throughout the state. The majority of those districts were in Southeastern Kentucky.

"Corporal punishment has led to fatigue, aggression, lower ACT scores, and even suicidal thoughts," said St. Agnes 7th grader Elizabeth George.

Representative Jim Wayne says this bill won't pass committee this year, due to the short session. He is hopeful that he can get it through next January.

"It's very difficult to get a bill passed in Frankfort, very difficult," Representative Wayne said. "But with the students like you crying out for the need for this, the adults will wake up and realize it's wrong what we're doing it the Commonwealth right now, and it must be corrected."