Boy wants to stop paddling in Kentucky schools
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Boy wants to stop paddling in Kentucky schools

"As students, the use of corporal punishment scares us," Alex Young said. "As Kentuckians, the use of corporal punishment embarrasses us."

Kentucky is one of 19 states where students can be corporally punished in schools.

Though many districts in the Commonwealth have taken it upon themselves to ban the practice, 25 school systems -- largely concentrated in Eastern Kentucky -- reported using corporal punishment more than 500 times during the 2015-16 school year, the most recent for which Kentucky Department of Education data are available.

Recently under the dome of Kentucky's Capitol Rotunda, Alex unfolded his notes and stepped to the podium.

The day before, the 13-year-old had rehearsed over and over his short speech the one he hoped would rally support for the bill he wrote with his classmates, banning teachers from paddling students. But he was still a little nervous on the car ride from Louisville.

He'd never spoken at the Capitol, and time was running out in the 2017 legislative session.





His voice echoed through the marble hall as he rattled off statutory definitions, glancing occasionally at his written remarks denouncing what he saw as an outdated practice.

Like an untested politician, he gripped the microphone in his right hand and gestured with his left.

"As students, the use of corporal punishment scares us," Alex said. "As Kentuckians, the use of corporal punishment embarrasses us."

Kentucky's Republicans and Democrats need to come together, the now-St. Agnes School eighth-grader implored, to end what he has called a "potential form of child abuse."

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