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May 30, 2014

Corporal punishment: Suwannee schools ranked highest in state two consecutive school years

Live Oak —

The Suwannee County School District led the state in the use of corporal punishment on students  across all grades for school years 2011-12 and 2012-13, according to Florida Department of Education and school district reports. 

What is corporal punishment?

The Florida Department of Education defines corporal punishment as “the moderate use of physical force or physical contact by a teacher or principal to maintain discipline or to enforce school rule.” 

The school district has the authority to prohibit the use of corporal punishment if they desire, provided the school board adopts, or has adopted, a written program of alternative control or discipline.

FDOE reports

In the FDOE reports on corporal punishment, students are only counted once for each type of disciplinary action, according to Cheryl Etters, FDOE public information officer. 

“The school districts report the data to the FDOE and the district data is saved in state databases. When we create a report that is ‘unduplicated,’ what that means is that we determine the number of unique students within the school or within a school district who have received disciplinary action,” said Etters. “Thus, if student ‘A’ has three reported actions and student ‘B’ has two reported actions, for all 100 students in the school there would be an ‘unduplicated’ report of two disciplinary actions, not five.”

The data collected from the Suwannee County School District, however, provides the actual number of times corporal punishment was used. 

In Suwannee County, the number of times corporal punishment was used has been inconsistent over the last five years. 

2009-10 school year

During the 2009-10 school year, FDOE reported 206 uses of corporal punishment.

Suwannee County reported corporal punishment was used 269 times during the school year. 

2010-11 school year

In 2010-11, FDOE reported 206 uses of corporal punishment.

Suwannee County Schools reported corporal punishment was used 293 times during the school year. 

2011-12 school year

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