Stillwater, Oklahoma (KFOR) – A Republican state legislator wants to end corporal punishment of children with disabilities and clean up the existing law language.
You may be surprised to learn that corporal punishment such as spanking and paddling is legal in Oklahoma.
State law prohibits practice “for students identified as having the most significant cognitive impairment.”
However, there is an opt-in for parents to support it.
Rep. John Tully of Stillwater said his bill would end opt-in for students with disabilities.
“Whatever they are diagnosed with, we want to protect them,” Talley said. It doesn’t make sense to me to harm someone who doesn’t.”
In the 1970s, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporal punishment was legal.
Most states have since banned the practice, with Oklahoma being one of 19 states that have not.
Corporal punishment of students with disabilities doesn’t happen all that often, but for Talley, it’s been too much.
“Over the last two years, we’ve had 455, 63 school districts,” says Talley. “And these numbers are provided by the federal government because they have to be turned over.”
His bill does not ban corporal punishment for all students.
Holly Gray, Macalester’s mother, wants it banned entirely.
“I can’t imagine paddling a six-year-old,” said Gray.
Holly, a mother of middle school children, said that on her way home last October, her children started crying because her friends were rowing at school.
“My seven-year-old started crying hysterically,” said Gray. “I was like, ‘What’s wrong? What are you so upset about?
Since that incident, Gray has advocated for the abolition of corporal punishment in his district.
“It’s kind of a cultural issue, and for me it’s the hardest one to break through,” her mother said.
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