Although officials say it has been at least a decade since a student has been paddled in any school, the Tullahoma City Schools Board of Education amended its corporal punishment policy Aug. 17 that some might have viewed as discriminatory.
Prior to its amendment, the policy stated that age, sex, size and physical and emotional state of the child would be taken into consideration should corporal punishment be deemed necessary. This particular portion has been removed in the new policy.
“We’ve dropped the discriminatory portion of the policy for corporal punishment,” said Greg Carter, TCS federal rights coordinator.
He also said, however, that “(Dan) Lawson doesn’t want us to paddle, and we don’t paddle.”
According to Lawson, director of schools, the system does not use the policy, but it is in place if necessary.
“We want to send a public message that TCS is not soft on crime. We’re not going to hit kids with boards.”
Lawson could not pinpoint an exact date and time a student was paddled within the school system.
“It has to be at least a decade since we paddled a student.”
During the study session, board member Kim Uselton said she was surprised that the school system even had a corporal punishment policy.
“I thought we had done away with that a long time ago. It stuns me that we even need the policy at all.”
Corporal punishment is defined as “physical punishment administered by a parent or teacher to the body of a child ranging from a slap to a spanking.”
“I’ve told my principals for years to not hit their students, and we don’t,” said Lawson. “The Tennessee School Boards Association recommended that if we keep the policy to take out anything discriminatory about who would receive corporal punishment. If this is necessary, you should be non-discriminatory.”
Currently, the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) has a policy that states each local board shall adopt rules and regulations as it deems necessary to implement and control any form of corporal punishment in the schools in its district.
Jacqui Atkielski can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.