Even as legislative efforts to limit the use of corporal punishment ramp up, some Tennessee school districts continue to incorporate physical violence against children into their discipline policies.
The Johnson City Press reports:
The Elizabethton Board of Education approved first reading of a disciplinary policy last month that continues to allow corporal punishment in the school system. Final approval of the policy will be made at school board’s next meeting.
As Elizabethton Bureau Chief John Thompson reported in January, the policy says “any principal, assistant principal or teacher may use corporal punishment in a reasonable manner against any student for good cause in order to maintain discipline and order within the public schools.”
The policy goes on to define corporal punishment as “spanking (striking the buttocks with the open hand) and/or paddling (striking the the buttocks with a paddle). All other forms of physical punishment are expressly forbidden.”
Should Rep. Jason Powell’s legislation gain approval, using corporal punishment against children with disabilities will be prohibited.
A report by WSMV-TV Nashville noted:
Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville, filed the bill Wednesday, after a News 4 I-Team investigation revealed students with disabilities received corporal punishment at a higher rate than their peers without disabilities at 60 Middle Tennessee schools.
It’s not clear whether the trend of hitting students with disabilities at higher rates extends beyond middle Tennessee. It is clear that School Boards in many Tennessee districts still condone the use of physical violence as a means of disciplining children.
I welcome hearing from school districts that expressly prohibit the use of physical violence (including corporal punishment) against students. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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