August 12 2009, 8:59 AM
"Landon K.," a 6-year-old boy with autism, was misbehaving in his Mississippi elementary school when his principal, a 300-pound man, intervened with a paddle. The punishment made Landon holler and then "devastated him," requiring medical intervention, his grandmother says. Landon is the poster child of a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union that finds more than 200,000 school kids are subjected to paddlings, spankings, or other physical punishment---and it's the disabled kids that are disproportionately singled out. Keep in mind that Colorado is one of 20 states that allows some form of corporal punishment. The ACLU and Human Rights Watch, which collaborated on the report, are now pushing federal and state lawmakers to ban corporal punishment for students with disabilities (via The New York Times). As Alice Farmer, the author of the report, tells United Press International, "Corporal punishment is just not an effective method of punishment, especially for disabled children, who may not even understand why they're being hit." You have to wonder what Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who started the Special Olympics, would have to say. Her passing yesterday at the age of 88 resulted in an outpouring of fond memories (via 9News).