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School CP - August 2013

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logo (WRCB-TV), Chattanooga, Tennessee, 6 August 2013

Some question corporal punishment at school

By Antwan Harris

Click to enlarge

SEQUATCHIE COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - Students stroll the halls of Griffith Elementary School as another year is underway.

When parents were asked to sign a discipline slip a few eyebrows were raised. It's a decades-old policy to enforce corporal punishment.

"It is usually at the request of the parent. Effective? Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is not," Sequatchie County Schools Superintendent Johnny Cordell says.

It's not uncommon for Tennessee schools to allow punishment. Nineteen states across the United States still use the policy and most are in the south and southwest region.

Tennessee law states teachers can use discipline in a "reasonable manner."

Sequatchie has been using corporal punishment for a number of years, but Cordell says it is a last option.

"I don't think any principal enjoys doing it. I didn't, but sometimes is it necessary."

According to the Center For Effective Discipline both Tennessee and Georgia rank among the states with the highest average of students disciplined by a school.

According to Sequatchie's student handbook reasons for discipline are ranked on four levels, from a "minor misbehavior" to "violent situations."

Each allow for corporal punishment as an option.

The school only uses corporal punishment for grades K-8 and that's at the parents consent.

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