Second Mississippi district hit with suit over paddling

Regular poster Terry sent this AP story to me Wednesday with the comment, “You would think they would have learned from the first lawsuit, now a second one. This is crazy and needs to stop.”

I agree.

If you read the story, I think you will also agree.  (She also sent me this related story from my old paper, the Fort Myers News-Press, and this one from

Mississippi School District Sued Again Over Alleged Paddling of Student

A school district in Mississippi’s Leflore County has been hit with a lawsuit from a student alleging injuries from a paddling.

An 11-year-old is seeking $500,000 from the Greenwood Public School District in a suit filed in Leflore County Circuit Court.

The child’s attorney said photographs show deep bruising on the then-10-year-old’s buttocks and that he also suffered possible kidney damage.

Phone calls by The Greenwood Commonwealth for comment to Superintendent Margie Pulley and the schools’ attorney, Richard Oakes, were not returned.

Last month, the guardian of a 6-year-old kindergartner also filed a $500,000 lawsuit against the Leflore County School District for alleged paddlings.

Can’t we retire the paddles?

79 comments Add your comment

food for thought

October 28th, 2009
5:59 pm

Regardless of one’s opinion on corporal punishment, the words “deep bruising” and “ten year old” (or for that matter “kindergartner”) should never be together in an article about it. Clearly someone at both schools went too far. Food for thought – if there were deep bruising on a child’s buttocks from a parent-administered paddling, that could/would be construed as abuse, no?

Darryl Moore

October 28th, 2009
6:10 pm

I support CORPORAL PUNISHMENT in schools. These kids are out of hand. They need it!!! The parents are failing them. SPARE THE ROD…SPOIL THE CHILD!!! I don’t support abuse but I do support paddling if the child is acting up in school.

Goes to figure

October 28th, 2009
6:30 pm

Battery on a child should never be tolerated in any form. The statement above about “going too far” implies it’s ok to beat a child, just not to the extent that it shows up as bad bruising. A great many of societies ills can be traced back to the beating and verbal abuse by groups like rednecks and blacks on children. The children in turn pass this on to their children and so it goes. Society is left to deal with the aftereffects.

Black Girl

October 28th, 2009
6:35 pm

I think $500,000 is a bit excessive. I would think this could be tricky if the parents also use physical punishment. I believe in corporal punishment. It’ll also be interesting to see if the child really suffered kidney damage from being paddled. I have a hard time believing that one. We have so many parents that just don’t want their children to be disciplined by anyone. There was a story yesterday about a child that had his mouth and wrists taped by the school secretary. Only his feelings were hurt, yet the mother has already gotten an attorney. I don’t think she should’ve taped his mouth or wrists, however I found it amusing that the mother never acknowledged that her son was put out of class for being “out of control”. The prinicpal told her to remove the tape, end of story, or so she thought. We live in a world where everyone wants a quick buck. No wonder the kids are screwed up, look at who’s raising them.

Black Girl

October 28th, 2009
6:39 pm

@Goes to figure, spanking a child is not the same as beating a child. I was spanked and have never hurt anyone. And what does being black have to do with beatings? Are you insinuating that anyone that is not a “redneck” or black couldn’t possibly spank or in your words, beat their children? I hope you don’t really believe that nonsense. Kids are abused by families of all socio-economic levels and races.


October 28th, 2009
7:03 pm

I support parents paddling their children (or whatever works) for misbehavior, or home schooling them so they can “enjoy” their child 24/7. No one should be allowed to take advantage of other students by sending their continuously disruptive children to school. FAPE for all who can behave appropriately!

food for thought

October 28th, 2009
7:04 pm

@ goes to figure – you read far more in my post than I intended. I do not condone beating of anyone. My views on corporal punishment are irrelevant to the fact that these communities supported it, and that someone in these communities enforcing it went to far.


October 28th, 2009
7:12 pm

What affect does hitting a child have on academic achievement and particiapation in high stakes tests toward making AYP?
In Georgia the DOE confesses that corporal punishment data from its 180 school districts is collected and recorded. However, there is no analysis of the data showing the relationship between levels of proficiency for school districts that spank and those that do not spank. Thus, if spanking is part of the education process is it a “best practice” that is scientifically researched? It does not appear so in Georgia. If spanking does not contribute toward making AYP, then why do we allow it?


October 28th, 2009
7:41 pm

What is more disturbing to me than the original story is some of the comments condoning the hitting of children. That parents still resort to corporal punishment at home is one thing ( I definitely don’t condone that either), but there is no reason a school should have this as a matter of course for discipline. Using a wooden implement to hit a child puts the child at enormous physical risk. Just the weight differential alone should stop any parent from giving permission to a school to hit their child.

Black Girl- Schools have the option of looking into PBIS, which is a great program to help with disciplinary issues. The latest studies I have read show that the schools that employ PBIS and implement it through and through serve all students better. There are far less disciplinary issues in the school as a whole, school climate improves and there are less referrals to the office with behavior issues. I am only sorry that American culture still insists that parenting should include hitting of children. That in itself is shocking to me, but what do I know, because I don’t hit my kids. And because I don’t hit my kids and say so, people automatically assume my children are brats. They are not. They get consequences without hitting. I also try not to yell, demean, argue. So far so good, and it’s working for me.

$500,000 for a lawsuit – I think it should be a million or more. If a child has medical issues due to what someone else did to them – there isn’t enough money in my mind to correct that wrong.


October 28th, 2009
8:21 pm

I received um lets say some of the most feet-lifting paddlings from a few of the legendary teachers and administrators at Stockbridge Middle (Pierce) and Stockbridge High (Barfield) during my time in the late 80’s and I never received bruises to my rear. Obviously these paddlings were done incorrectly!


October 28th, 2009
8:26 pm

Jenny – what college of education or teacher program teaches how to administer a paddling properly? None!!

It baffles me that in 2009, Georgia still allows this. I know because I pulled the records. That we are even collecting the data stumps me and what we are doing with this data is another question. The lawmakers I have communicated with state ‘it’s a local issue’. What I say to that is ‘Nonsense!” Not when it costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuits, then it becomes much more than a ‘local issue’. It needs to be abolished in this state and the other states.


October 28th, 2009
8:28 pm

Personally I don’t think have any issues with the administration of corporal punishment with a leather strap, paddle or even a switch (as my Mother prefered and was a school teacher for 40 years) if other forms of behavior modifications doesn’t work with some individual children. I’m 59 years old and had the paddle administered to my fanny at school and my dad wore out his belt on me a number of times, as did the majority of the kids I grew up with when we got out of line an disobeyed. I don’t think my generation turned out half bad compared to the greater percentage of disorderly, impolite, lying, lazy, overweight kids that are being grown and developed by todays parents and teachers with out some corporal punishment discipline.

I do know that for some reason just about every boy carried a pocket knife his father or grandfather had given him without having the police called and the school shutdown!!! I went to school in Cobb County and when old enough to drive a number of us brought guns to school and went hunting afterschool with out a friggin’ National news event!!!

Has saving the poor little psyches by not administering corporal punishment at home and school when warranted really been effective???


October 28th, 2009
8:40 pm

This stinks of FRAUD! Parents can “spank” their child after the child has been paddled at school and then blame it on the school! This fraud has been perpetrated before. For this reason alone, I would never, as an administrator, lay my hands on someone elses child.


October 28th, 2009
8:43 pm

Pathetic. Simply pathetic. This is the 21st century! Why are some schools still using the paddle? The only things kids learn from that is to hate school and hate their teachers and administrators even more. Keep it up and I guarantee that one of them will end up bringing a gun to school and blowing these Stone Age-minded jerks back to the 19th century.


October 28th, 2009
9:05 pm

Who says a parent didn’t do it to the child with $$$ in there mind. Ill give lil tommy a bruise since he got paddled and we can say the school did it and sue…. didn’t a parent poison his kids to sue Campbells soup?


October 28th, 2009
9:25 pm

While I am all for spanking as a parent, and do spank as a last resort, I would not want my kid spanked at school. Why? Because the person giving the spanking does not have the same love and compassion for my child that I do, and may be striking out of anger, not a sincere effort to teach the child that certain actions are not OK. I always make sure my child knows that to spank her hurts my heart much more than it hurts her behind, but that it is my job to make sure that she learns to make correct choices into adulthood. I think an unrelated adult may or may not have the same thought behind spanking and may only see the bad in a child, not the whole child, as a parent would.


October 28th, 2009
9:26 pm

…and by the way, if a 10 year old had deep bruising, that spanking was most certainly not done with love for the child….


October 28th, 2009
9:34 pm

I am sure these kids all have lower IQs now that they have been spanked! ;-) I was spanked, I spanked…Neither me nor my child have less than masters degrees and we both have above average IQs. I didn’t get bruises when spanked nor did I bruise. The school went too far. The lawsuit will not get the 500k…but it will get national attention which is probably worth more.

Black Girl

October 28th, 2009
9:34 pm

@Terry, I work in a school that uses CMCD. Sure, it’s great on some kids. However, I work in a rough school and it just doesn’t work with all kids. I was never paddled in school, but I think we have kids that need it. They get very little discipline at home.

@atlwolf, spanking a child doesn’t make them hate anyone. It does make them a lot more fearful to try some of the things that kids try today with adults. The fact that you metion students bringing weapons to school is what’s most disturbing. In my generation kids were spanked. We didn’t retaliate by shooting up our school. Kids today are lonely because mom and dad are too busy for them. They’re depressed because of all that they must deal with in their homes. That’s the real reason they shoot up schools.


October 28th, 2009
9:40 pm

@blackgirl – No child in school deserves hitting. If a child is neglected or abused at home, are you saying a paddling is going to help them? Most studies indicate that the most vulnerable, abused and neglected children certainly do not need a paddling at school. What they need is some kind of intervention and help. The states that still allow these practices have lower student achievement and higher incarceration rates. So, the myth that it works on some kids, is just a myth. Sadly, it seems most seem to be unaware of the difference between myths and facts. What is the program you speak of? And if it is not working, something else needs to be tried IMHO.


October 28th, 2009
9:48 pm

Love! If the parents really loved and payed attention to their children perhaps they wouldn’t need so much dicipline at school. A lot of kids today do not have proper respecte for authority, either for their parents, or for authority figures in the community. A good spanking without damage might get to where the little angels brains aare…in their little behinds. That goes for bigger behinds, also. Let’s hear it for DISCIPLINE!!!!


October 28th, 2009
9:54 pm

Discipline means to teach.


October 28th, 2009
10:21 pm

Schools that still use corporal punishment should have legal forms in place for parent’s to be able to “opt out” their child from being paddled, beat, or abused by strangers. This way those of you who uphold the mid-evil religious belief of caning, stock and pillory for PUNISHMENT can sign on to let strangers punish your child for you.
I would like to know how public schools, that are secular, can still use a religious derived form of punishment? Why is it that, “Separation of Church and State” does not apply to our STATE public schools? I would like an answer from the U.S. Department of Education for these questions. I want to see the data of where corporal punishment in public schools began, from where it is derived and the research that shows corporal punishment as a valid deterrent to childhood disobedience.

It is the parent’s responsibility to punish their own children. Why are you placing your parental responsibilities on the public school systems? If the parent’s that uphold corporal punishment of their children by strangers would take care of this DISCIPLINE ( please check root meaning of this word) process at home there would be no need for CP in our schools.

When the mid-evil religious practice of punishment or inflicting pain on CHILDREN is removed from our schools, I guess the parent’s that choose to place their children’s punishment responsibilities on strangers(schools) will then have to find others than the schools to do this for them.
What ever happened to suspension or sending notes or phone calls to parents informing them of the disobedience or violations to dress codes or horseplay that children are paddled for every day?
Schools should place punishment responsibilities of children back on the parent’s.

Some schools are just “slap happy” and hit children ( oops! allow me to sugar coat the word, “hit” and use the politically correct words,” corporal punishment” in place of “hit”) for minor violations such as tardies, dress code violations, horseplay, speaking out of turn. These kids are being punished and hit for being kids!

Hitting and punishing children for such minor violations is almost sadistic in nature. As parents, how well do you know the person who is hitting your child for you?

Those who place their parental responsibilities of punishing their children on strangers is your own personal choice. Every parent has the legal right to make their own choices based on their own beliefs of what is and what is not right for their children.

Lisa B.

October 28th, 2009
10:33 pm

Terry, what is PBIS?

Lisa B.

October 28th, 2009
10:36 pm

I found a website for PBIS, but wondered if Terry implemented the program as a school administrator, educator, or parent.

Black Girl

October 28th, 2009
11:03 pm

@Terry, CMCD stands for Consistency Management and Cooperative Discipline. In the right school, it’s a great program.

@J4A you ask “What ever happened to suspension or sending notes or phone calls to parents informing them of the disobedience or violations to dress codes or horseplay that children are paddled for every day?” Here’s my reality.

I called a parent today to inform her of her child’s behavior. Unfortunately, the phone number is disconnected. There are no other numbers listed although school forms request alternate numbers. This is often the case with many students. Last week I called a parent and requested a conference. The mom said that she didn’t have time to come up to the school. No explanation was given. You see, many parents don’t parent. Just as it is the parent’s responsibility to punish their own child, it’s the school’s responsibility to teach. When parents don’t parent, teachers can’t teach. I don’t necessarily think schools should spank students, but I recognize that it may be a useful alternative when all else fails (including PBIS, CMCD and the likes).


October 28th, 2009
11:11 pm

@black girl.. just a question, can you send a letter via mail or is that not allowed? Or teleconference? I know parents working 2/3 jobs trying to make ends meet in this economy.


October 28th, 2009
11:35 pm

Terry, I’m glad to see that others actually know the root meaning of the word, “discipline”. Discipulus, meaning “pupil, disciple.’ Hope my spelling is correct. :) Discipline: Teaching, instruction. That which is taught to pupils. Training which corrects, molds, strengthens, or perfects.

Please allow me to answer the question, ” What is PBIS?” PBIS is acronym for – Positive Behavior Intervention Support. Go to The following is written:
A punishing climate can be a setting event for problem behaviors.
A school climate relying on punishing consequences can provoke problem behaviors, for example, increases in antisocial behavior, breakdown of student-teacher relationships, degradation of school social climate, and ordecreases in academic achievement.
The science of human behavior has taught us that students are not ” born with bad behaviors” and that they do not learn better ways of behaving when presented aversive conquences for their behaviors.
If you are interested you can read about research-validated practices from: Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.

Another informative site…5CPS10_IDEArequirementsforPBS.pdf or see below
There is also Positive Behavior Supports of Georgia- I think it’s or .org.

If you need more info on this I can get it for you.


October 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

In this age of accountability, why would anyone condone the school district to spank a child? Why are any of us so quick to give the parent a “pass” on disciplining his/her child?
I say, hold parents accountable for their children’s discipline and the school system can remove the child from the situation and follow the guidlines for discipline as outlined in HB605, The Student Disciplinary Act of 1999.


October 28th, 2009
11:46 pm

@blackgirl – are your expectations in the classroom clearly conveyed for the age level you are teaching? Are they clear and concise? Do you provide reminders of what is expected? And further, do the students you are teaching that have ‘behavior’ require assessments from support staff? some kids with add/adhd just slip through the cracks and have to be identified. just some questions.


October 29th, 2009
6:51 am

The argument that it is OK to spank because I was spanked and had no ill efects is as bogus as it gets! Hitting someone smaller than you is wrong…anyway you want to color it or cover it. It is simply a way to let your frustrations out, it’s easy, requires no thought on your part and says NOTHING more to that kid than “I am bigger than you, I can hurt you and so THAT’s why you should not do what you did! It does NOT teach self-control, it teaches bully control. And it teaches your child to hit people who will niot do what he or she wants them to do! If I was able to raise 3 well-mannered, kind, responsible kids without spanking them, then anyone can. Sure, it harder, but it is what is right!


October 29th, 2009
8:05 am

Its a rediculous form of punishment and has never worked. Jenny mentions a seat lifting paddle. I doubt very serious your average principle will not lift a 175lb kid , LOL. I have been paddled and it s kind of funny. Actually got rid of an itch one time and was appreciated.

Randy Cox

October 29th, 2009
8:29 am

Many child abuse authorities think of physical child abuse as “spanking gone awry”. Where spanking or other hurtful physical aggression is not considered a legitimate way to treat loved ones, the incidence of frank physical abuse is less. Spanking is just one of the slippery slopes. Few parents who find themselves in the ER with an injured child either anticipated or intended to leave evidence on the child when they set out to punish him or her. Whether in the home or in the school, an adult who is 2, 3 or 4 times the size and weight of a child is just asking to wind up with a very regrettable situation if he or she steps onto that continuum that is all physical violence. It doesn’t happen every time. It doesn’t happen most of the time. Too often, however, a child is physically hurt to the extent that medical intervention is required. It’s always hurtful and it’s always humiliating to be mistreated to a spanking. That’s why all adults are protected by law from such, no matter their behavior. Parents and teachers hit children because they can. Where they cannot, they teach successfully and they parent effectively, using methods that do not harm children. Anyone can come up with at least two alternatives to hitting a child in the name of discipline. Those who hit anyway, do so because no one is stopping them. It’s brutish and it’s bullying. It teaches nothing we want children to know about or how to do.


October 29th, 2009
8:48 am

The one student I paddled in my career was bigger than me. I was so upset after this that I never paddled again. Where could I go to see what schools in Georgia still paddle?


October 29th, 2009
8:53 am

@Terry, students create a Class Constitution to make them feel that the classroom belongs to them. Each child signs the constitution and it is placed on the wall. There are opportunities for students to be “caught doing the right thing” where certificates are given. I prefer positive reinforcement which is what CMCD is all about. My child has ADHD so I know all too well how they can get lost. Each school as a Student Support Team. A meeting is held which includes teachers and parents. Unfortunately the process doesn’t begin immediately (it can take weeks or months). And sometimes parents won’t even show up. Again, I would never use corporal punishment on a student, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t think it could be useful when all else fails.

Also, I don’t request parents come in for a conference the first time I call unless I feel that it’s an urgent matter. However, rarely is a student displaying poor behavior and making great grades. Before I begin the SST process I try to meet with the parent to see if we can work together to get the kid back on track. I want their input regarding their child. I’ve been teaching several years and I’ve always dealt with parents that won’t get involved. Take a cell phone and they’ll run to the school, have a conference night and suddenly they’re really busy.


October 29th, 2009
10:21 am

The district in this case allows paddling only by a principal, done in private, with an adult witness, and a maximum of five swats. These rules were not imposed by liberals from Sweden, but were written by the parents whose children attend the schools in the district via their elected school board.

Under Georgia law teachers have immunity when they follow the district policies on spanking, but that did not happen in this case. What happened is a hot-head coach dragged a ten year old student up in front of the class and beat him blue. He was not a principal, there was no adult to witness it, it was not done in private, and he went far beyond the number of swats allowed in the handbook.

The man broke every single rule, and he knew it when he was doing it, he was just so angry that he didn’t care. Do you think this animal would care about a parental opt-out request? Give me a break. This about a grown adult and supposed profession teacher who completely lost it because a ten-year-old disrespected him. It’s no different than a cop dragging you out of your car and beating you with a nightstick because you cut him off in traffic, except worse because the person who got beat was a helpless ten-year-old kid.

It was not discipline, it was a temper tantrum, and the man doesn’t have even the vaguest legal defense for what he did. Hitting a kid with a board is assault, unless you are covered by immunity, which you get by following the rules. The man belongs in prison, and when he gets out his name should be on a list with other adults who can’t control their passion to act out towards little kids.

As for the lawsuit, the county can blame themselves. The school district had the opportunity and the duty to fire him, and the sheriff and prosecutor had the opportunity and the duty to arrest and convict him for the crime that he quite clearly committed. Instead they have this criminal in class teaching students.

If you are mailing in opt-out letters to the school, you might as well write them on toilet paper because that is what the administrators use them for. They will wipe their crack with it in front of your kids face and then beat them blue, and unless you want to wait for it to happen and then sue, you have to take things into your own hands. I let the teacher and the teachers and administrators know at the beginning of the year that I make it a point to know where they live, and that if one of my kids limps home with a bruise they won’t be facing a lawsuit, they will be wringing somebodies brains out of their carpet, and mopping the rest them off of the walls and ceiling.

This district is lucky that the child’s guardians in this case are more civilized than the staff at the school, but they need to get their act together and realize that they cannot count on that. There is a hero in south florida this week who dragged the man who molested his son from his car and beat him into a coma with a brick. In my opinion this coach deserves the same.


October 29th, 2009
10:22 am

@Meme, you can ask the state dept of education public information for the records for all counties on corporal punishment statistics. Or read the report by the ACLU called “Impairing Education”.

From MS

October 29th, 2009
10:22 am

Some districts do still have corporal punishment, but in those districts parents have to sign a waiver to allow corporal punishment to be handed down. I have a niece and nephew that will never be ’spanked’ because their parents have chosen to not sign the waiver. Blame the schools if you want but the parents agreed to corporal punishment!


October 29th, 2009
10:24 am

@meme. – you also can call the U.S. dept of education as they keep records as well.

DeKalb Conservative

October 29th, 2009
11:04 am

Are there any examples of academic excellence coming out of MS?


October 29th, 2009
11:05 am

@MS, I think opting out doesn’t even protect you if it is lawful in the state. How is a parent absolutely assured that nobody touches their kid? I have a hard time believing that all parents know their opt out rights and that the forms are apparent and available every year. Is there a mandatory form they must turn in? Further I sincerely doubt the schools are calling the parent each and every time the child were to be physically punished. I think what parents need to do is to get their school boards to get it off their policy books entirely. I am wondering how often these policies are even reviewed. These policies should be reviewed yearly or every other year. I am wondering how many lawsuits are costing taxpayer dollars on this issue. Further, parents need to appeal to their lawmakers to abolish it. If you look at the records from Georgia, I believe we have a problem. I think parents need to contact their school boards and review the policies carefully, understand their opt out rights entirely and maybe provide an opt out notarized letter from a licensed medical doctor. This way it is clear that nobody touches your child.


October 29th, 2009
11:43 am

So schools can paddle but parents can’t spank??? Where’s the logic in that?


October 29th, 2009
12:06 pm

bTk- I’m with you all the way! Not one of my kids has ever even been disciplined short of changing a green stick to a yellow one….but if ANY administrator laid a hand on my child to harm him or her, they’d be regretting it for the rest of their lives! We pay those administrators and I don’t pay ANYBODY or give permission to ANYBODY to hurt my child!!!

Rick Tallman

October 29th, 2009
12:59 pm

For Darryl Moore. Did you happen to read the previous stories about this paddling event. The child has had a disability. If a child, with or without a disability doesn’t respond to a positive inforcement, they won’t respond to a negative one either.
AND for Gatorman770.
If your daddy used his belt on your backside more than once for the same offence, either the punishmnet didn’t work or you were a slow learner.


October 29th, 2009
1:00 pm

Want to reform education? Stop hitting our kids NOW! 20 states still allow corporal punishment in schools, and, last August, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that almost a fifth of students struck by teachers suffer from disabilities. Teachers legally can spank autistic students who they feel are acting out of turn. To receive Federal Education (citizen taxes) Race To The Top (RTTT) funds, states should be required once and for all to ban corporal punishment. After all, beating prisoners is illegal. Beating school children should be, too!
Zero tolerance for weapons and violence is the standard that should apply to everyone in educational settings. Teachers included. Wooden paddles have no place in our SCHOOLS.
School boards are asking for trouble to sanction a practice that is intended to inflict pain.

Research indicates that physical/corporal punishment is bad for children, creating stress from fear, teaching them to use violence as an acceptable means to solve problems and lowers their IQ’s, which is counterproductive in an educational setting.

Make no mistake: beating schoolchildren on their pelvic area with a wooden board causes more problems than it corrects — if it corrects any at all. Teacher-training programs do not include instruction in the “correct method” for hitting students.

What corporal punishment does accomplish is to degrade the teaching profession, drive good people away, and make the teaching field a safe haven for the dangerously unfit. Its net effect on schools is a negative one. The more that schools indulge in paddling, the higher the dropout rate, along with all the social ills that follow, e.g., gang activity, addiction, mental health problems, unenployment, etc.

The time is long over due for our lawmakers and education policy makers to apply the zero-tolerance rule universally. When paddlers complain, as some inevitably will, they should be advised to look beyond their classroom walls and see how schoolchildren are managed violence free throughout the civilized world. They should look and learn from the 30 states where corporal punishment in schools is forbidden by law. If they can’t learn, they can’t teach.

Over 50 National Children’s Health and Education Organizations have issued position statements to OPPOSE SCHOOL Corporal Punishment including the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Bar Assocation, the National PTA (Parent Teacher Association), National Education Association, Prevent Child Abuse America and the NAACP, among others.

Corporal Punishment of Children in Schools is an outmoded, ineffective and dangerous practice that has been banned in more than l00 countries. It puts school districts at risk for lawsuits for paddling injuries, which is the main reason many districts already have abandoned it. For example, a recent news headline reads, Nearly 60,000 spankings in Miss. schools last year.” In another recent news article it was reported that a state legal adviser, who told Bristol, Tennessee Director of Schools Gary Lilly that while school principals who paddled students were legally protected from allegations of assault, they were not immune from accusations of inappropriate or improper touching.

There are positive, nonviolent approaches to school discipline that have been proven to lead to safe environments in which children can learn. Positive behavioral supports teach children why what they did was wrong and gives them the tools necessary to improve their behavior. The staff in our schools must be trained on how to discipline children effectively and humanely.

In late July, Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent a letter to state school chiefs asking that they review their “seclusion and restraint techniques” used on students to ensure that they are not “abusive and potentially deadly.” That’s a fine gesture, but there has been no such letter regarding corporal punishment sent out since the HRW report was released, nor is there any mention of abuse in Race To The Top (RTTT) Federal Education Funding criteria.

Pushing for anything less than an outright ban on all forms of classroom abuse reveals a gap in the administration’s professed commitment to making schools better, safer, and stronger.

I am the Parent of 3 children attending schools in an UNRESPONSIVE Paddling School District where middle school teachers keep wooden paddles in their desk drawers and take them out to threaten students with physical pain for minor infractions such as not turning in homework. Students are taken by teachers into hallways just oustide classrooms within earshot of classmates and told to “Bend over and grab your ankles” while the teacher holds their pants belt loop and hits them with a wooden paddle, then the battered student immediately faces classmates with red and tear-stained face (humiliation) when they return to their seat. No parental consent or notification is required per Tennessee State Law. My husband and I are strongly OPPOSED to our children’s learning environment including fear, anxiety, dread and humiliation caused by witnessing/overhearing PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN IN SCHOOL!!

Rick Tallman

October 29th, 2009
1:14 pm

The term discipline rarely alludes to physical punishment.
The following is the definition of discipline from the Houghton Mifflin Dictionary. Notice that punishment is listed way down at number 4. AND it doen’t mention physical punishment.

1 Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.
2 Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control.

a Control obtained by enforcing compliance or order.
b A systematic method to obtain obedience: a military discipline.
c A state of order based on submission to rules and authority: a teacher who demanded discipline in the classroom.
4 Punishment intended to correct or train.
5 A set of rules or methods, as those regulating the practice of a church or monastic order.
6 A branch of knowledge or teaching.

Rick Tallman

October 29th, 2009
1:22 pm

If you think paddling in school or anywhere else is OK, the next time you’re in the supermarket or local Walmart and your child starts acting up feel free to drag out the paddle and let them have it.
I would bet the cops would be there before you get to the register.

Rick Tallman

October 29th, 2009
1:51 pm

There is another article in the AJC today.
It is about a 21 year-old school bus driver who had a sexual relationship with a 16 year-old male student.
She is in jail on a $20,000 bond.
Apparently, paddling a student is OKAY, but having sex with one is isn’t!
The article ends with the statement “The age of consent in Georgia is 16, but state law says a person can be charged with a sex crime if he or she has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the person involved in the relationship.”
So why should a teacher who has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the person involved be allowed to paddle or otherwise use physical punishment?


October 29th, 2009
2:14 pm

If any child is hit by an “educator” for anything, than the “educator” has little skill and 0 patience. Being an educator myself, I have learned to get results from young people with common sense and conversation. Young people do have brains and CAN think. There are just too few adults that will equip themselves with enough concern and care to get into the worlds of young people. These are not “hopscotch” children. They are into more. They have more stimuli! Therefore we have to bring ourselves up to their speed and understand a little bit more of what interests them. They we can connect and work to make things better…together.

I wrote the book “Beat Black Kids,” because beating children is such an epidemic in our community. I put solutions in it because I know parenthood can be challenging and frustrating. We just have to be equipped for the challenge. We have to be willing to listen to and understand our young people if getting solutions is really our goal. I need adults to think before we act and make better decisions about what we are developing this world. The same child you strike will be needed to help you later in life. If their memories have more beating and yrlling in them than someone flowing love and power to them, then the results can turn out drastic for you…or not like you planned them.

If you did not get love as a young person, then make a decision to give out some as an adult. Love does not equal what you provided, it entails how you made a child feel. Creating pain does not make people feel better. AND WE CAN DO BETTER!

Beat Black Kids


October 29th, 2009
2:42 pm

I have some info. that may be helpful for those of you requesting info. of the laws in our state. This info. is specific to Georgia. I am not an attorney, I am a parent who has a special interest in corporal punishment, restraint and seclusion in our schools. I did the research and will give this info. to you.

In Georgia you can access the Official Code of Georgia (OCGA). Google- O.C.G.A. and you will choose first listing which is lexisnexis search engine. You will see a page -terms of use then choose- OK Close. You will be taken to the OCGA site. You will scroll down to TITLE 20 which is EDUCATION. If you scroll over the + symbol (left) open to all levels- Level 6. You can type in code # you are looking for (top search window) and choose SEARCH or you can open all windows and just scroll down by numerical order eg. Begin 20-2-435 scroll down to Part 2.DISCIPLINE /SUBPART1. CORPORAL PUNISHMENT and click on highlighted/blue links to read the code.

When you try to go back to last page you will need to select “send” to go back.

I will list some codes by number for Discipline Policies:
20-2-730- Policies and regulations on use of corporal punishment (cp)
20-2-731- When and how cp may be administered
20-2-732- When principal or teacher not liable for administering cp ( not excessive or unduly)
20-2-1000- Limitation on civil damage for disciplining students “educator’ defined, frivolous or nonmeritorious (sp?) actions.
20-2-215- In loco parentis- status of aides and paraprofessionals

I live in Barrow county and as far as I know this county doesn’t administer cp. But I will give info for you to access the Student Code of Conduct and the Class1, Class 2, and Class 3 offenses that have cp listed as first line of punishment for Early Learning ( preschool to pre-k); elementary school; middle and high school.
Choose first listing (google)
Main page choose ” Visit Barrow”
Top of this page select, “Parent Information”
Scroll down middle of page select, ” Student Code of Conduct” ( There are 20 pages to this and has all Class 1, 2 and 3 offenses for all age groups. Look at this closely and note that only Class 1 Minor offenses have cp listed as deterrent. CP is listed for Early Learning Centers also for minor offenses!
I can give you information for Federal Regulations that cover ALL States if you need this for Mississippi. Just ask.