Interim Study Examining Corporal Punishment on Disabled Students Scheduled

Sep 14, 2023
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An interim study to examine evidence-based behavior interventions for students with disabilities enrolled in public schools will be held Thurs., Oct. 5.

The bipartisan study, requested by Rep. John Talley, R-Stillwater, and held in coordination with Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, will study the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and effects of using corporal punishment on a student with a disability.

"I'm glad we have another opportunity to continue conversations about how we as a state can ensure children with disabilities can learn and grow in our public schools without suffering the adverse effects that physical punishment may bring," Talley said.

Speakers include Andrea Kunkel, general counsel for the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA) and executive director of Oklahoma Directors of Special Services (ODSS), who will share details on the IDEA policy; Dr. Scott Singleton, professor of psychology at the University of Central Oklahoma, who will speak to the consequences of using physical punishment on students with disabilities; and Dr. Gary Duhon, professor of school psychology at Oklahoma State University, who will share evidence-based behavioral reduction interventions for students with disabilities.

Talley said the agenda will also include a public school parent sharing the mental toll of physical punishment on their child with disabilities while at school, as well as Dr. Kyle Reynolds, retired Woodward Public Schools superintendent, who will provide a superintendent's perspective.

"It must be our goal to ensure our public school policies help each child achieve their greatest potential, but numerous studies show using corporal punishment on students with disabilities can cause tremendous and lasting harm,” Floyd said. “We’ll learn more about that in this study, and hear from Oklahoma experts about how schools can better respond when behavioral issues arise, without resorting to physical punishment.”

Talley and Floyd authored House Bill 1028, which passed the House 84-8 in March and remains alive for consideration in the Senate next session. In its current form, the bill prohibits the use of corporal punishment only on students identified with the most significant cognitive disabilities, who account for less than 10% of students with disabilities in Oklahoma's public schools.

The interim study is scheduled for Oct. 5 at 1 p.m. in Room 206 at the Oklahoma State Capitol. The study is open to the public and may also be live-streamed on the House website.

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