- OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma state legislators, in the wake of the
Columbine High School killings in Colorado, voted Wednesday to remind parents
they may spank, paddle or whip their wayward children.
- A bill reminding parents they have the
right to use corporal punishment passed the Oklahoma House by a vote of
96-4 after the Senate approved it 36-9 Tuesday.
- The legislation will insert a line into
the state's child-abuse statutes reminding parents that state law gives
them the right to use "ordinary force,'' including spanking, paddling
or whipping with a switch, to discipline children.
- The bill's author, Democratic Sen. Frank
Shurden of Henryetta, said he had decided to clarify the statute after
two students armed with guns and bombs killed 13 people and themselves
at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
- "That's what got me spurred,'' Shurden
said. "I feel like the lack of discipline has led to what we are into
now, total chaos and disrespect.''
- "Back when I grew up, we got our
tails whipped at school, then got it again when we got home. We didn't
have shootings,'' he said.
- Shurden said the wording already appeared
in another section of state law that also gave teachers the right to paddle
but was unknown to many child-abuse investigators or state welfare workers.
- Shurden said many children threatened
their parents with child-abuse charges to get out of what he described
as perfectly reasonable whippings.
- Legislators who voted against the bill
argued it would encourage child abuse.
- The bill now goes to Gov. Frank Keating
to be signed or vetoed.