Complaint to the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education


Paddling, the educator’s euphemism for hitting a child’s buttocks with a board, has been trending downward for several years.  The bad news, however, is that Arkansas children continue to be mistreated and discriminated against as gender, racial/ethnic and special needs groups are paddled in extreme excess of their proportions of district student enrollments.  In reply to our complaint about this sorrowful situation, filed with the Office for Civil Rights, U. S. Department of Education (November 19, 2002), the OCR acknowledged that our statistical analyses supported our claim that corporal punishment was indeed being administered disproportionately against African American, Special Education and male students.

Though the levels of disproportionate treatment were so extreme and so shocking, the OCR deemed that statistical evidence of different and unequal treatment of African Americans, disabled students and male students, by itself, was insufficient for initiating an investigation of discrimination.  Under the administration of Secretary of Education Rod Paige, the OCR was primarily investigating singular complaints of discriminatory treatment of individuals rather than allegations of unfair treatment of groups.

When individual children step forward to disclose discriminatory treatment that they have experienced or teachers complain to us about what they have witnessed, we will file more complaints with the OCR.  We know that these students and teachers are out there. We believe, however, that they are yet unaware that there is a mechanism in place to hear and recognize their complaints. We hope to change that.

We intend to make our Civil Rights Complaints and their supporting documents available on this site.  Until we do, this page remains "under construction".


By permitting corporal punishment, we allow students to view it as a legitimate way for people to treat others who do something they don’t like.  When teachers use corporal punishment, they lose an opportunity to demonstrate non-violent conflict resolution.   Corporal punishment reinforces the view of the bully; that is, it’s okay to use physical aggression to control others when strong enough to do it unopposed.

Arkansas students are being hit today primarily because corporal punishment is permitted, because teachers are people and because people resist change.  Today’s classroom teachers have access to effective teaching and child management techniques that do not rely on intentionally hurting their pupils.  Unrestricted, however, it just seems easier to too many educators to use brute force.


 

Corporal Punishment in Arkansas Public Schools, 2001-2002 

 
(Referencing the Arkansas Department of Education SIS database, July, 2002) 

 

Educators in Arkansas used corporal punishment 52,157 times last year.
·That's 2.02 trips to the office for the 25,825 children paddled. Statewide, students risked a 5.76% chance of being struck. In paddling schools odds jumped to 1 in 10... worse, still, for male, African American, Special Ed. students.

·In 382 schools, teachers hit none of their 177,496 pupils (40% of state enrollment); 28.5% of them African American. 

 
African American children were hit 34% of the time the paddle was used, or 147% of their proportion of state enrollment.
·    They were 30.75% of the children paddled, or 133% of their proportion of total enrollment. 

·They averaged 2.23 paddlings per pupil, compared to 1.93 for Whites and the 2.02 statwide average. 

·8% of African American pupils were paddled, compared to 5% of Whites and the 5.76% statewide rate. Statistical analyses show that being paddled is dependent on race. African Americans are more likely to be hit. 

·Racial disparities in paddling are statistically significant in over 18% of districts.

 
In 22% of times children were intentionally hurt in the name of discipline, the students were identified as "Special Education" and entitled by law to receive unique learning assistance.
·Neither special nor unique, corporal punishment was inflicted upon this group at a rate nearly 175% of their proportion of enrollment.

·The Special Education students who were African American were 33% of the total instances of corporal punishment of Special Education students, or 147% of their proportion of that group.

Arkansas has 75 counties and, in 2001/2002, 1139 public schools
·Pulaski County is the only county where all of the public school children are unbeatable.

·White County is the least safe place to attend public school, reporting over 3,941 paddlings. 

·20 school districts reported 0 paddlings.9 school districts have reported 0 paddlings for over 5 years. 

·382 of 1139 schools reported 0 paddlings (only 116 of those schools are in Pulaski Co.)

Paddling as a Risk Factor of Enrollment in Arkansas Public Schools, 2001-2002 School Year 

 
Asian/ 
African 
Hispanic 
Native 
White 
Total
Pacific Isl. 
American 
American 
Enrollment
a
Enrollment (by ethnicity), October 1, 2001 
4,135
103,936
18,620
2,293
319,262
448,246
Enrollment (by ethnicity), as a percentage 

of total enrollment ( a / 448,246 )
0.92%
23.19%
4.15%
0.51%
71.22%
Paddlings; "Regular" class
71
13,980
783
185
25,748
40,767
Paddlings; "Special Ed."
4
3,751
97
38
7,500
11,390
Instances of Corporal punishment (by Ethnicity), 2001-2002 
75
17,731
880
223
33,248
52,157
b
Students subjected to Corporal punishment
47
7,941
522
95
17,220
25,825
Students paddled, as a percentage 

of ethnic enrollment ( b / a
1.14%
7.64%
2.80%
4.14%
5.39%
5.76%
Students paddled, as a percentage 

of total corporal punishment ( b / 25,825
0.18%
30.75%
2.02%
0.37%
66.68%

Corporal Punishment “Report Card”

In 1 of the state’s 75 counties no children were paddled (Pulaski Co. served 52,177 children)

In 19 counties a paddle was used more than 1,000 times (19 counties paddled 28,382 times)

In 2 of the 18, children were paddled over 2,000 times (Mississippi and White)

In 1 of them, 3, 941 times (White)

20 of 313 school districts reported 0 paddlings (6 of those districts are in Pulaski Co.)

9 districts (Pulaski (5 districts), Fountain Lake, Poyen, Mountain Home and Winslow) have reported 0 paddlings for over 5 years.

4 school districts reported over 1,000 paddlings (Trumann, Osceola, Newport, and Searcy)

382 of 1139 schools reported 0 paddlings (116 of those schools are in Pulaski Co.)

29 schools paddled only 1 child all year 

27 schools paddled twice 

1 school exceeded 1,000 paddlings (Searcy High = 1,1212) 

All six districts in Pulaski County have banned corporal punishment of students.

Mountain Home School District has banned corporal punishment since 1991

Fountain Lake School District banned corporal punishment April 8, 1993

Poyen School District banned corporal punishment August 3, 1993 

Paron School District, in Saline Co., banned corporal punishment for grades 7-12, August 20, 2001

Fayetteville School District has no board prohibition. The superintendent prohibits corporal punishment.

Corporal punishment of children: