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School CP - February 2015

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NBC logo (WBIR-TV), Knoxville, Tennessee, 12 February 2015

Proposed bill would ban paddling, an option one ET district still considers

By Aaron Wright

Director of Schools
Director of Schools Bill Hall says paddling isn't a punishment they use often.(Photo: WBIR)

ONEIDA -- A Nashville lawmaker wants to put an end to corporal punishment in public schools.

Nashville lawmaker Jason Powell said he was surprised corporal punishment was even legal in Tennessee when constituents came to him looking to have it banned. In Scott County, school officials say it's not a bad thing, but it's a punishment they don't use often.

Director of Scott County Schools Bill Hall says there's only one time paddling is appropriate punishment -- "When we have exhausted every disciplinary measure that we can."

There are several steps school officials take before deciding to use corporal punishment.

Working with the parent, the system typically uses in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension for discipline.

Hall says paddling can be effective when used appropriately. In his four years as director of schools it's only been used once and in that case the family requested it.

"Our goal is not to see how many people we can discipline every day, but we know we have to maintain discipline and order for that learning to take place. I think our principals do a good job making sure top quality learning takes place."

Powell wants to see the practice banned across the state. He thinks there's no consistency in how the punishment is handed out.

Board of Education HQ
Scott County still allows the use of corporal punishment.(Photo: WBIR)

"Depending on what class you're in, what school you're in, who your teacher was the rules could all be different," said Powell.

Hall says schools will follow the law if it's changed, but he believes lawmakers shouldn't be the ones deciding school policy.

"I think it ought to be up to each district or leave it with the education people, I think we can do the good job of what needs to be set forth in place and I think that's where the decision needs to be," said Hall.

Right now the bill has been filed and Powell's office says they should know by next week what committee will consider the bill. A Knox County spokesperson told me they don't use corporal punishment and haven't used it for many years.


Three-minute news segment from local TV station WBIR Knoxville (12 Feb 2015) of which the above report is a very slightly abbreviated version. It opens with an online poll showing a majority of respondents wishing to keep school CP in that region. Interview with Bill Hall, Director of Scott County Schools. Telephone conversation with Jason Powell, the politician who wants to ban paddling in Tennessee.


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