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State Rep. Stephanie Hilferty, R-Metairie, is the sponsor of a bill that would ban spanking, paddling and other forms of corporal punishment in public schools.

The Louisiana House on Tuesday night rejected a bill that would ban paddling and other forms of corporal punishment in public schools.

The vote was 48-49, five votes shy of the minimum needed for approval.

Critics said the measure would usurp the rights of local school districts to decide the issue for themselves.

State Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall, a former teacher, led the opposition.

Bagley said the ban would interfere with the rights of sovereign school boards. He said rules are in effect to make sure corporal punishment is done properly.

Rep. Stephanie Hilferty, R-Metairie and sponsor of the measure, noted that the Legislature routinely enacts laws for the entire state. "This is just an other example of that," Hilferty said.

The proposal is House Bill 324.

Under current rules, whether corporal punishment is allowed is decided by educators in the state's 69 school districts.

A total of 29 school systems allow spanking and other forms of physical punishment and 40 systems ban it, including most school districts in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas.

The practice is prohibited in 31 states, according to figures compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The legislation is opposed by the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents.

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Officials of the group said they favor retaining the local option.

Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, criticized the measure.

McCormick said banning spanking and other forms of punishment could pave the way for the state to curb the rights of parents to discipline their children at home. "It sets a dangerous precedent," he said.

Hilferty said the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes corporal punishment because of its harmful impact on children.

She also noted that the state bans the hitting of youngsters in Louisiana's juvenile justice system and state prisoners.

Hilferty also said male students are more likely to be the targets of paddling and spanking and that African American students are slightly more likely to receive such punishment.

Until Tuesday the most recent push to ban corporal punishment died in 2017 on a lopsided vote.

Voting to ban paddling in public schools (48): Rep. Adams, Brass, Brown, Bryant, Carpenter, G. Carter, R. Carter, W. Carter, Cormier, Coussan, Davis, DuBuisson, Duplessis, Freeman, Freiberg, Green, Hilferty, Hollis, Hughes, Illg, James, Jefferson, Jenkins, T. Johnson, Jones, Jordan, Landry, Larvadain, Lyons, Magee, Marcelle, Marino, McKnight, D. Miller, G. Miller, Moore, Nelson, Newell, Phelps, Pierre, Pressly, Stagni, Thomas, Villio, White, Willard, Wright and Zeringue.

Voting against HB324 (49): Reps. Amedee, Bacala, Bagley, Beaullieu, Bourriaque, Butler, Carrier, Crews, Deshotel, DeVillier, Echols, Edmonds, Edmonston, Emerson, Farnum, Firment, Fontenot, Frieman, Gadberry, Gaines, Garofalo, Geymann, Goudeau, Hodges, Horton, Huval, Ivey, M. Johnson, Kerner, Mack, McCormick, McFarland, McMahen, Miguez, Mincey, Muscarello, Orgeron, C. Owen, R. Owen, Riser, Romero, Schamerhorn, Seabaugh, St. Blanc, Stefanski, Tarver, Thompson, Turner, and Wheat.

Not Voting (7): Speaker Schexnayder, Reps , Bishop, Cox, Glover, Harris, LaCombe and Selders.

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