A push to ban corporal punishment in Louisiana public schools made more progress than it has in years. The House Education committee has vote 6-5 to approve Barbara Norton's bill to do away with paddling in schools.

The narrow vote means it will get a debate from the full House.

Rep. Nancy Landry, Republican chair of the House Education Committee, made the tie-breaking decision to move the bill out of her committee. The 6-5 vote sends the proposal by Rep. Barbara Norton to the House floor for debate.

"You create more violent children when you paddle them, because this is what they know about, abuse," said Norton, a Democrat from Shreveport.
Norton says she has been studying the issue for several years an no data shows that corporal punishment has helped improve student behavior.

There is a also a bill drafted in DC to ban corporal punishment in public schools. One of Norton's other concerns says paddling puts the state in a position for lawsuits.

31 states have already banned corporal punishment in schools.

Caroline Roemer with the Louisiana Association of Charter Schools also testified regarding this bill. She told the panel this is an example of a bill that is very relevant in today's schools, but she says her membership is equally divided about this issue. She told members of the Education Committee her school leaders would rather leave this decision up to the local schools.

38 school districts in Louisiana have a policy in place that allows corporal punishment. The state school boards association also agreed with Roemer, telling the panel this is a decision best left up to the local school district.

In Caddo Parish, the latest numbers reported show that 185 students were paddled and of those 171 were African American. Norton says that is also a big issue in the local area.


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