Monday, February 8, 2010

MO: HB 1543 - Corporal Punishment and the Use of Force

February 8, 2010

By: Jennifer Searcy
Founder/Director of Public Policy & Affairs

HB 1543, a new bill on corporal punishment and the use of force, has been introduced into (and is quickly moving through) the Missouri House of Representatives.

Ange Hemmer, our colleague from Missouri Families Against Restraint and Seclusion, has written a blog post which explains her concerns with HB 1543. While we are analyzing this bill more fully, we wanted to share Ange's concerns with this bill with our readers - concerns which we also share. Here's an excerpt from her most recent post:
HB 1543, an omnibus bill dealing in part to improve school safety, is currently moving its way through the Missouri House of Representatives. It is my understanding that this bill, which looks a lot like HB 96 from last year, was discussed in the Education Committee last Wednesday.

Among the amendments adopted was one that bans corporal punishment of special education (IEP) students. This is great news for those who have been identified as special educated students, but is Missouri going to continue to fight to keep corporal punishment legal in Missouri schools?

Besides that issue, there is the continuing problem where school districts are left to conduct their own investigations if there are abuse allegations after spanking or use of force to protect persons or property. Children's services would not be allowed to conduct an investigation unless the school district finds itself liable for abuse.

As in last year's bill, "use of force" and "property destruction" are not defined, and since Missouri does not ban prone restraint (or other harmful methods of "force"), a child can legally be held face down for property destruction as minor as ripping up paper. In other words, what is happening currently to this child will continue to be LEGAL.

We detailed our concerns about HB 96 in this post from January 31, 2009:

Please read the new bill and form your own opinions. And if you have any questions or concerns, please consider taking the following actions:

Consider emailing us at with HB 1543 in the subject line to discuss this further.

Contact the Missouri House Special Standing Committee on Children and Families : and
Elementary and Secondary Education Committee:

And the Missouri Senate
Education Committee: and theJoint Committee on Education:


Hall Monitor said...

Join the battle against corporal punishment with! Every day a school sends a kid home paddled. Check out the site for the latest case.

Ange said...

Thank you for getting this out there!

tcfpbis said...

Ange: You're quite welcome.

Hall Monitor: Thanks for the comment. We've added your site to our recommended blog list.