On the eve of a larger vote, the Louisiana House approved a bill Tuesday night that would ban the paddling of students with disabilities.
The vote was 96-0.
The proposal is part of Gov. John Bel Edwards' public schools legislative package.
Louisiana's tradition of paddling public school students includes those with disabilities, a…
Under current rules, local school districts have the option of using corporal punishment on all students, including those with disabilities.
The legislation, House Bill 79, would make that illegal. It is sponsored by state Rep. Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge.
"I was surprised to learn that you can actually administer corporal punishment to kids with disabilities," Foil told the House.
He said the legislation would also relieve teachers and administrators of possible liability stemming from punishing disabled students.
On Wednesday the state House is set to debate a bill that would ban all paddling in public schools.
In a reversal from previous years, a state House committee Wednesday voted 6-5 to ban the pa…
That proposal, unlike Foil's bill, is expected to spark controversy.
A total of 38 of the state's 69 school districts allow corporal punishment, Scott Richard, executive director of the Louisiana Schools Boards Association, said last week.
Most of the state's largest school districts ban corporal punishment, including the East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Orleans and Lafayette school systems.
The Livingston Parish School District is one of the exceptions, and 59 of 300 students punished last year – 20 percent – had disabilities.
About 16 percent of all students who were paddled during the 2015-16 school year were disabled, according to figures compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The bill applies to students with individual education plans, or IEPs. That includes those with speech or language impairments, developmental delays, emotional disturbances and autism.