Utah school teachers can dust off their paddles. The Utah House beat down a proposal that would have prohibited corporal punishment in schools.
Opposition to the bill crossed party lines, as both Democratic and Republican legislators used their own experiences to explain why teachers should not be restricted from resorting to corporal punishment.House Minority Leader Frank Pignanelli, D-Salt Lake, described being punished by being whacked with both a ruler and a yardstick as a private school student.
"We didn't have discipline problems when I was in Catholic school," he said. "You lose discipline in school, you lose discipline in society."
House Majority Leader Rob Bishop, R-Brigham City, a teacher himself, said he doesn't believe "corporal punishment is evil."
"We're not talking about child abuse. There are abuse statutes on the books," Bishop said. "We are talking about corporal discipline when it's needed."
He said the restrictions in the bill would interfere with teaching. "If you want me to teach, I will do it. But get out of my life so I can do it," he said, adding that the bill "sends a message that I as a teacher find offensive."
Rep. Lloyd Frandsen, R-South Jordan, the House sponsor of the bill, argued that child abuse in any form is wrong, saying the "risk will continue to increase as long as corporal punishment is allowed."
He also predicted it is a bill that will return to the Legislature every year until eventual it is passed.
The bill failed by a 27-44 vote.
- Although the state provides the same amount of money to each student in every school district, the districts themselves have widely varying abilities to raise local money to supplement state funds.
Legislators tried to even out some of the inequity Thursday when the House Education Committee passed HB200. The measure would increase state support on taxes in districts where assessed valuations support skimpy returns.