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Oklahoma lawmakers fail to pass bill to ban corporal punishment on disabled students

Kateleigh Mills
/
KOSU

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma House of Representatives failed to move a bipartisan bill that would ban corporal punishment for students with disabilities to the Senate.

State representatives voted 45 to 43 on House Bill 1028, failing to meet a majority of 51 members needed to progress the bill. Fifteen members did not vote.

The bill's lead sponsor — Rep. John Talley (R-Stillwater) — said many school districts urged him to pass the bill, and that corporal punishment was used on disabled students more than 400 times between 2021 and 2022 in Oklahoma.

But, Rep. Jim Olsen (R-Roland) and Rep. Randy Randleman (R-Eufaula) argued against the bill by pointing out that parents must approve corporal punishment for their disabled children. Talley said the bill would not impede parents' ability to use corporal punishment on their children.

Before the vote, Olsen said he had a “greater authority” on discipline in the Bible than the American Academy of Pediatrics, which advises against corporal punishment in schools. He cited Proverbs 29, which says, "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

"That would seem to endorse the use of corporal punishment," said Olsen, who has previously used his religion to argue against gender-affirming health care for minors.

Representative Anthony Moore (R-Clinton), one of the bill’s sponsors, said he told Talley he would happily sponsor the bill because it seemed like a no-brainer to him.

"(I thought) this would be an easy bill that this would be an easy bill to carry because there's nobody who's going to be for corporal punishment on students with disabilities," Moore said. "I apologize to the author, because apparently, I was wrong."

On Twitter, Rep. Trish Ranson (D-Stillwater) said Talley captured the bill in hopes that it will be voted on again.

Max Bryan is a news anchor and reporter for KWGS.
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