Legislation prohibiting school district personnel from using corporal punishment on certain students passed unanimously out of the Oklahoma House of Representatives with a vote of 89 to 0.
House Bill 1623, or the “Bryan Young Act,” protects students with disabilities from corporal punishment unless addressed in an annual Individualized Education Program (IEP). Young was a Norman-based attorney who regularly advocated for students with IEPs.
“Bryan had been fighting diligently these past few years on the behalf of students with disabilities who had been harmed by school personnel using corporal punishment,” said Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville. “It’s a great honor for me to carry this piece of legislation, and I know Bryan would be proud to see Oklahoma lawmakers taking steps to ensure the safety of our students.”
In districts where corporal punishment is currently allowed, most require parents sign a handbook at the beginning of each year permitting school personnel to use corporal punishment when necessary. This legislation exempts students with physical disabilities from being corporally punished unless it is allowed in the student’s IEP.
“At the time of Bryan’s death, colleagues from his law firm found nearly 50 cases where parents of students with disabilities had contacted the attorney about corporal punishment concerns. This practice is not isolated, and I’m hopeful the Bryan Young Act will positively impact the lives of Oklahoma students living with disabilities,” Cleveland said.
HB 1623 now proceeds to the Senate for consideration, where state Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, is the author.
Cleveland represents House District 20, which includes parts of Cleveland, Garvin, McClain and Pottawatomie counties.