- Franklin FoilState Representative
Louisiana Revised Statute 17:223 and 17:416.1 Allows Corporal Punishment in Louisiana Schools
Corporal Punishment is physical punishment and affects one group of children more than any other--the disabled.
The stories below are just some accounts of the school abuse of disabled children. You will find more stories on Human Rights Watch's website. The link is provided on this page.
The Stories of Abused Children
Anna M., on what happened when she picked up her 7-year-old son, who has autism, from his public elementary school in Florida:
"He was marked - top of his arms, under his arms, down his torso. He had a busted lip, which I hadn't noticed at first. He told me, ‘They made me wash the blood off before I saw you.'"
Theresa E., whose 5-year-old granddaughter with autism was physically punished at her Georgia elementary school:
"You could see the bruising. Her whole arm was swollen by the time she got to the emergency room. Her right arm. The doctor said it looked like she'd been hit by a baseball bat or had been in a motorcycle accident.... To this day, I have no idea what they hit her with."
Michelle R., whose son with Tourette syndrome, which causes involuntary physical tics, was punished for his condition at his public elementary school in Mississippi:
"One of his tics was balling up his fists ... that was seen as aggression and he would get in trouble with it.... He would try to explain that it was a tic, and he couldn't control it, but they see that as him escalating it.... They had a closet and he would go in there, and that's where he was hit.
Statistics and Law
According to studies, disabled children are punished through physical discipline at school at a much higher rate than other children. These children likely are being disciplined for acts caused by their disabilities. Federal law requires schools not to discipline students for action that arise from their disability. The only way to protect disabled children from being physically abused at school is to help us abolish the Louisiana law that allows corporal punishment.
First, we must abolish La. R.S. 17:223, which allows:
Each parish and city school board shall have discretion in the use of corporal punishment. In those cases in which a parish or city school board decides to use corporal punishment, each parish or city school board shall adopt such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to implement and control any form of corporal punishment in the schools in its district.
We also must abolish La. R.S. 17:416.1, which states:
Each parish and city school board shall have the discretion with respect to the use of corporal punishment. In those cases in which a parish or city school board decides to use corporal punishment, each parish or city school board shall adopt such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to implement and control any form of corporal punishment in the schools in its district.
I understand that not all disciplinaries use corporal punishment in a highly violent manner, and older generations may support slight physical discipline. However, the facts show that disabled children are harmed by this discipline, and harmed at a higher rate than others. This must be stopped.
Please make a difference in children's lives and sign this petition. Disabled children in Louisiana especially need protection. Help protect them today.
For more information on corporal punishment and disabled children see http://www.hrw.org/news/2009/08/07/us-students-disabilities-face-corporal-punishment-higher-rates
- State Representative
Please Amend Louisiana Revised Statute 17:223 and 17:416.1, Which Allows Corporal Punishment Against Disabled Students in Louisiana Schools.
Shayna A. Pitre started this petition with a single signature, and now has 1,092 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.