Choosing the preferred instrument of pain as well as number of strokes against the bottoms of unruly public school students remains legal in Arkansas, and twenty-one other states.The Berryville School District has had 229 cases so far this year. Some school districts have banned the practice, including Fayetteville and Little Rock.
“My understanding is that it’s typically a wooden paddle,” says Kristen Garner, staff attorney for Arkansas School Boards Association. She monitors public school discipline practices. “The most prevalent is to be spanked on the rear end.”
Which is how Berryville Public Schools, in eastern Carroll County does it, says Superintendent Owen Powell, before a recent school board meeting.
“Corporal punishment is part of our school policy,” he says. “But it’s an option. We don’t force students or parents to submit to it.”