New bill aims to ban spanking kids in Florida schools

A state lawmaker is pushing to ban corporal punishment in Florida schools. The proposal comes after new research showed spanking children is harmful and ineffective.

Corporal punishment used to be an accepted form of discipline for schools all over the country.

Now, it's banned in more than 30 states, but there are some districts in the Jacksonville area that still use this option.

The Clay County still uses this method of punishment. Bradford County schools also allow corporal punishment while school in Duval and Nassau counties do not.

Now, there’s a new push to stop corporal punishment from being used in every school in the state. Julie Tolbert, a mother, said she believes this change is long overdue.

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“You absolutely cannot spank my child. It actually surprises me because they have such good schools in Clay County,” Tolbert said.

Sen. Annette Taddeo, of South Florida, who is backing Senate bill 1120, said she created it because corporal punishment is an old way of disciplining kids. Studies show physical punishment can do more harm than good.

"Learning studies and psychological effects -- everything has shown this is just not productive in any way," Taddeo said. 
She wants Florida to join the dozens of other states that have banned this type of punishment.

“We tend to be slower with the times and with the reality of the studies that have found that this is not productive or even good for their mental well-being,” Taddeo said.

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Tolbert agrees and she believes discipline should start at home.

“If you started early enough, I think you can have that under control no matter what grade they’re in, whether they are in pre-K or a senior in high school,” Tolbert said.

Senate bill 1120 will be taken up by that state when senators return to Tallahassee on March 5, and Taddeo is hoping it'll have bipartisan support.