The latest effort to ban spanking and other forms of corporal punishment in Louisiana public schools once more failed to get enough votes to pass.
The state House voted 48-49 last week, five short of the number required to pass the bill, which was authored by Republican Rep. Stephanie Hilferty of Metairie. A similar measure lost by a much larger margin in 2017, the Advocate newspaper reported.
Opponents mostly objected to interfering with the right of local school boards to decide what policy is appropriate. Currently, spanking and paddling are allowed within local guidelines in 29 districts and banned in 40, although under state law most “exceptional” students are not subject to corporal punishment.
Rep. Danny McCormick (R) feared that banning corporal punishment in elementary and secondary public schools would be a “dangerous” step toward the state dictating to parents how they may discipline their children.
Hilferty pointed out that the American Academy of Pediatrics says corporal punishment harms kids and that the Legislature routinely passes bills affecting the entire state without too much concern about eroding local control.
She also said girls and Black children were disproportionately subject to corporal discipline.
The Louisiana association of school superintendents opposed the measure. Corporal punishment is prohibited in 31 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.