OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — On March 20, the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted to prohibit corporal punishment for students with intellectual disabilities.
It’s a different result than last week, which is when the House decided against this.
The new version would prohibit schools from physically punishing students with the “most significant cognitive disabilities” unless it’s allowed in an individualized education program (IEP).
An amendment offered Monday by State Representative Chad Caldwell changed the language in House Bill 1028, which aims to ban using corporal punishment on students with disabilities.
Currently, the State Department of Education has a rule like this in place, but it’s not a state law.
The amendment passed by lawmakers would now leave it up to the OSDE to decide what qualifies as a “significant cognitive disability.”
“What I think we’re going to do here is get it back to what the primary intent is, which is to get rid of this parent opt-in for severely disabled children,” Rep. Caldwell said. “That’s what we’re going to do here.”
This raises questions from state lawmakers.
“Why would we eliminate parents out of a very sensitive ordeal here,” Rep. Tom Gann of Inola asked. “Why would we eliminate them?”
“I don’t believe there are many, if any, parents of these kids that are currently granting this waiver,” Caldwell replied. “We are taking an extra step to further protect those kids.”
This bill still has to go through the senate before it officially becomes a law.
Last week, the Sooner State made national headlines after the bill failed to pass. Some people believe this had an influence on the measure being reconsidered.