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Corporal Punishment Declining In Rutherford County Schools

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Aug 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 16:34:33-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The issue of corporal punishment in schools has resurfaced as parents in Rutherford County have to sign a form indicating whether they will allow their child to be paddled.

For some parents who are new to the district, it’s caught them by surprise.

Corporal punishment has been legal in schools across Tennessee, although some districts have chosen to ban it. That's not the case in Rutherford County.

“Each year parents complete a form that says they don't want their child being part of corporal punishment or do they want to be called first,” Rutherford County spokesman James Evans said.

It's considered a last resort after other attempts to discipline the student have failed.

“I guess that was just the way I was raised up. I think you got to have consequences if you do something,” supporter Jamey Curtis said. Although it was never used, he authorized the paddling of his children.

“Now not a good idea,” Patricia McLemore said. “Because people don't know where to stop and even some parents don't know where to stop.”

Over the years the number of Rutherford County students who were padded drastically declined.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights just under 200 students in the county were paddled in 2009. By 2011 only seven incidents were reported.

“Some principals don't even consider it as an option because they don't want liability issues or anything like that,” Evans added.

Still all parents must fill out the form. The district has been leaving it up to them to decide. The policy has required principals to have another employee there to witness it.

The district did not have a concrete number about how many students were paddled last year, but they said it was at least five students.