Colorado’s House of Representatives gave initial approval Monday to a bill that would ban corporal punishment in public schools and day care centers that receive state funds.
The bill, sponsored by Denver Democrat Rep. Susan Lontine, would forbid adults from using physical harm as punishment for students.
“It’s not OK for adults to hit each other,” Lontine said. “It should not be OK for adults to hit children — ever.”
Colorado is one of 19 states that has not outlawed the practice. However, reported incidents of corporal punishment are rare.
That’s one reason why some Republicans who disavow corporal punishment still oppose the bill.
“We’ve heard there is not a problem,” said Minority Leader Rep. Patrick Neville, a Douglas County Republican. Schools are “already dealing with this. Let’s let our local school districts do what they’ve been doing.”
Lontine’s bill won bipartisan support from the House Education Committee. Given the Democrats’ wide majority in the House, the bill is expected to win final approval Tuesday. But it’s unclear what sort of reception the bill will receive in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chris Holbert, a Douglas County Republican, said he hasn’t read the bill yet. But he said he is always concerned about education policy violating local school districts’ local control.