Spanking bill sent to Delaware Gov. Minner


Joe Rogalsky, Staff writer
Newszap - Delaware State News

DOVER - A bill to ban spanking, paddling and other forms of corporal punishment in Delaware public schools cleared the Senate Tuesday and is headed to Gov. Ruth Ann Minner's desk.

Senators approved Senate Bill 15 by a 17-4 vote. The Senate had already passed the measure in January, but the House tacked on a technical amendment last week, requiring a second Senate vote.

Supporters said the bill would remove a form of discipline that could traumatize children.

"It traumatized me the day I had to face the paddle," said Rep. Robert J. Valihura Jr., R-Wilmington.

"It was wrong then, and it is wrong now."

The bill's opponents, however, said the decision to allow corporal punishment should be left with school districts.

"The local school boards have elected members, and they should be the ones making this decision," said Sen. Colin R.J. Bonini, R-Dover South, one of four Downstate senators to vote against SB 15.

"We always talk about local control, and this is one of the issues that should be controlled locally."

Gregory B. Patterson, Gov. Minner's spokesman, said the governor plans to sign the legislation into law and make Delaware the 28th state to outlaw corporal punishment in schools.

State law now leaves the decision whether to allow corporal punishment to local school districts.

Three Downstate districts - Delmar, Indian River and Laurel - permit corporal punishment.

Joe Rogalsky can be reached at 741-8226 or

Tennesseans for Nonviolent School Discipline: