Cassville, Mo. School District reinstates corporal punishment option for students, parents react to decision

Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 5:49 PM CDT
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CASSVILLE, Mo. (KY3) - An old-school discipline method is returning to some Missouri schools.

Cassville Superintendent Dr. Merlyn Johnson says the policy change is a result of a survey sent out to staff, students, and parents in May.

“One of the suggestions that came out was concerns about student discipline,” said Johnson. “So we reacted by implementing several different strategies, corporal punishment being one of them.”

Dr. Johnson says this change will give principals one more disciplinary option, before students receive more serious punishments such as suspensions. Administrators say it would be the last resort for parents and faculty members if other means of discipline do not work.

”It’s something we don’t anticipate using frequently,” Johnson said. “This is an opt-in only option for parents, so anyone who disagrees with corporal punishment, they simply do nothing by not opting in.”

Johnson says he understands there will be different views on this decision and the district respects the opinions of parents who choose not to opt-in. Parents like Kimberly Richardson who says if a child is going to be punished it should be up to the parents. She would also prefer the district continue with the other forms of discipline.

”Like in school suspension that would be fine with me,” Richardson said. “Or even out of school suspensions. Those are just way better than corporal punishment.”

Another parent, Dylan Burns says he doesn’t see a problem with corporal punishment and thinks every parent has the right to choose.

”No matter what you choose, I think you need to sit down with your kids and choose what’s best for you and your family,” Burns said. “Trust that everyone there at Cassville is not going to do anything that you don’t want done to your child.”

Missouri Statute authorizes corporal punishment as an option for each local school to consider if parents opt-in.

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