Email Us: TalkToUs@BanPaddlingAR.com
AASP Board Member
Arkansans Against School Paddling
Arkansans Against School Paddling is the official Arkansas State Chapter of the U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children, a national non-profit organization. We work to engage school personnel, school board members, and state legislators in an effort to ban corporal punishment statewide.
We are a diverse team of passionate advocates with educational and medical expertise. We are teachers, nurses, mothers, fathers—and above all, Arkansans.
And we’re here for you and your children.
To prohibit anyone from striking a child in Arkansas schools.
Help us stop paddling in all Arkansas schools! Send us a message and let us know how you can help!
Our Origin Story
In 2020 a group of passionate child advocates came together in search of information regarding school-sanctioned corporal punishment in Arkansas. Led by educator Tate Aldrich, this group of volunteers began pouring over district policies across the state, and what they found shocked them. By their count, 67% of school districts in Arkansas still endorsed paddling students. Their findings led them to publish blog posts “Teachers Can Legally Hit Your Children in 19 States. Let’s Talk About It,” “Saving Our Children from Violence When Schools Are the Abusers,” and “Teachers Legally Hitting Students as a Disciplinary Measure Has to Stop,” and eventually coalesce around a single mission: banning school-sanctioned corporal punishment statewide.
They soon uncovered other statistics, too, particularly those that highlight the disparities in education. For example, administrators are twice as likely to strike a Black student than a White student in Arkansas. And a vast majority of schools that endorse corporal punishment—89%—can be categorized as mid- or high-level poverty districts. Because the research proves corporal punishment’s detrimental effects on young learners, these inequities are unconscionable—and run contrary to the antiracist and trauma-informed practices emblematic of world-class education.
Arkansans Against School Paddling’s motto is simple: “Educate. Advocate. Repeat.” But it’s more than motto; it’s a promise. By providing school districts with an annual, free resource to help them rethink their policies and by engaging lawmakers across the state, we work to fulfill that promise. Our goal is to protect the dignity and safety of every child in Arkansas, and we won’t rest until corrective violence is illegal in schools.
As members of Arkansans Against School Paddling, we....
about Our Founder
In 2020, Tate M.Ed., an award-winning teacher, current doctoral fellow, and instructor at the University of Arkansas organized a group of passionate children advocates to come together in search of information regarding school-sanctioned corporal punishment in Arkansas. After discovering that nearly 67% of Arkansas school districts still endorse paddling they established, Arkansans Against School Paddling (AASP), the official Arkansas State Chapter of the U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children. Tate’s expertise lies in both trauma-informed instruction and dialogue, and he founded AASP as a gathering space for advocates who believe in protecting children from corrective violence.
Within its first year of operation, Tate and the team published a series of blog posts, “Teachers Can Legally Hit Your Children in 19 States. Let’s Talk About It,” “Saving Our Children from Violence When Schools Are the Abusers,” and “Teachers Legally Hitting Students as a Disciplinary Measure Has to Stop,”, shipped free AASP Toolkits to 222 Guidance Counselors, and Tate and Board Member Yolanda were keynote speakers at the National Teacher Leadership Conference.
Last year, AASP expanded its Board to 6 members, launched a new website, partnered with Citizens First Congress and Teach Plus Arkansas to send nearly 100 Arkansans legislators information on “Arkansas, Corporal Punishment, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline.”, and sent its first survey to over 1,200 Principals, Assistant Principals, and Counselors to understand school leaderships perspectives on the use of corporal punishment.
Tate and his founding board members created AASP as a gathering space for advocates who believe in protecting children from corrective violence. In 2023, we look ahead with the founding motto, “Education. Advocate. Repeat.”
Tessa is an Occupational therapist, who earned her Master’s Degree from University of Central Arkansas in 2008. She currently works at Youth Home in Little Rock, where she treats adolescents struggling with mental health issues. She is an adoptive mom of a child who is currently in the 4th grade in public schools.
Early on it was very apparent that her son had behavior issues related to his past trauma. Although Tessa grew up in a culture where spanking was encouraged, a paddling incident at her son’s school led her to research trauma and the brain. As she puts it, “the body remembers all trauma even if the brain doesn’t consciously remember.” Tessa has been advocating for the dignity and safety of children ever since.
Jeffery is an Arkansas school administrator. As a Dean of Students where he was previously employed, Jeffery was required to paddle students. After witnessing firsthand the traumatic effects of the practice, he looked into statistics regarding corporal punishment and found disturbing disparities: across the U.S., Black and Brown students are paddled at much higher rates than their White peers.
This led him to seek other methods to deal with student behavior—methods that do not involve being physical but more so working with the child and their family to get to the root cause of the behavior, while respecting the child’s dignity.
Chelsey is a pediatric occupational therapy assistant. In this capacity, she has heard countless stories from families of children who were being punished physically or emotionally in places that they should feel safe (like at schools and at home).
Using gentle, trauma-informed, relationship-based approaches rooted in brain-based science, Chelsey helps parents and others supporting children to understand what may lie behind challenging behaviors—always keeping the safety and connection with the child at the forefront.
Ellen is an Assistant Teaching Professor with the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing in Columbia, Missouri. She has been a pediatric nurse for 40 years, 23 of which were as a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP). In her role as PNP working with homeless families and children, Ellen began to see that violence against adults in the shelters was not tolerated, but children could be hit with impunity.
Ellen started a No-Hit policy for all ages at two shelters where she worked as a PNP. She also believes that children should never be hit by their teacher, that they deserve the same rights to be free of violence as adults are.
Yolanda is a single mom and a conscious parenting coach. She founded the podcast Parenting Decolonized and hosts conferences for parents to raise emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually liberated children. Yolanda is on a mission to help Black parents form deeper, more intentional relationships with their children and raise the next generation of liberated, free-thinkers who won’t be afraid to use their voices to impact change.
On her podcast, she discusses how to decolonize parenting by resisting old narratives, reclaiming ancestral methods, and becoming more mindful. Listeners can join her every other Thursday for conversations that educate, motivate, and empower parents to reimagine what it looks like to raise liberated and carefree Black children.
Myranda is the Program Coordinator for the U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children. She received her Master’s in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University in 2022, and before that, served as Peace Corps Literacy Volunteer in the Easter Caribbean from 2018 to 2020.
It was this experience that inspired her research on education and children’s rights and ultimately her thesis titled “Examining School Corporal Punishment, the Amplification of Violence Against Children and Indicator of Societal Violence: The Case of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Originally from Arkadelphia, AR, Lance LeVar (he/him) has over two decades of experience as an educator including 14 years in administration at all levels of education. He served as a teacher, high school and elementary school assistant principal, middle school principal and district administrator in multiple districts in Arkansas and Utah. Lance also worked as a college adjunct faculty at two different colleges in Utah. He has presented at multiple education conferences and provided training and consultations for school districts across the U.S. on topics such as multicultural education, instruction, professional learning communities, Title IX and Section 504.
Lance is currently a Public School Program Advisor in the Equity Assistance Center (EAC) in the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) of the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE). In this position, he has facilitated dozens of in person and virtual trainings with school districts and educational service cooperatives across Arkansas on Title IX, Section 504 and anti-bullying policies and procedures.”