Arkansas Department Of Human Services, Appellant,
v.
Pat CALDWELL, Appellee.
No. CA 91-296.
Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II
June 24, 1992.


By: Seth Jacobs and Ashley Collins
Background:
On Thursday September 22, 1988 Pat Caldwell paddled three fifth grade students who were caught smoking on the school playground. It was a violation to smoke on school grounds and to strike a match on school grounds as well. Another teacher was present and served as witness to Caldwell paddling the three students. Two of the students got three licks and the other only got one as she did not smoke the cigarettes. The girls were also to write a report on smoking. The next afternoon, one of the mothers’ noticed some bruises on her daughter’s behind and felt the bruises were from the spanking. She reported the bruises to the Baxter County Division of Children and Family Services upon a basis of child abuse. The worker assigned to the case determined there was in-fact abuse and reported it to the state. The following year, Caldwell requested to have her name detached from the registry.

Decision and Rationale:
Pat Caldwell was granted an appellate hearing to have her named removed so she wasn’t known as a child abuser. During the hearing, under the School Discipline Act, it is stated that any teacher or school principal may use corporal punishment in a reasonable manner against any pupil for good cause in order to maintain discipline and order within the public schools. Pat Caldwell won her hearing on the basis of three issues: the trial court erred in holding that the hearing officer's findings were not supported by some credible evidence; the trial court erred in ruling that its policies created an irrefutable presumption of abuse; and the trial court exceeded its authority under the Administrative Procedures Act

Impact on Teaching
The case Arkansas Department of Human Resources vs. Caldwell reminds educators of what has been done in the past to correct behavior in students. “Paddling” children is no longer in schools. This case can serve to be a good example of why it is no longer commonly used in the school. Many problems existed with paddling such as this case where it was hard to determine if the child was paddled too hard. The majority of parents in today’s culture do not believe in paddling their children and we as educators cannot impart our beliefs on what is correct punishment to these parents.

Quiz Question:
True or false
The School Discipline Act states that any teacher or school principal may use corporal punishment against any pupil for good cause in order to maintain discipline and order within the public schools.