The following note was sent to my Franklin County School Board colleagues.
I want to make sure that, in connection with our annual review of Section Six Policies in April, we pull Policy 6.31o4, on corporal punishment, out for specific discussion on Monday, April 7th. To be clear, I oppose this policy and would like to see it deleted.
As I say, I think we need to have a conversation about this particular policy. I have had a few constituents express concern to me about paddling. While some are aware that they have the right to opt out of the policy individually for their own children, the issue is larger than individual preferences.
My position has nothing to do with the way people privately discipline their children. What people do in their own homes raising their own children is not the county’s business, within reason. Some people approve of spanking, others do not. But once children are in the schools, in a public place, they should be treated as they would be in any other public place. As a county, we do not want people hitting other people–that is just not the sort of place we want to live in.
In my opinion, the schools –as the first public place most children enter– should model safe and respectful public interaction. Policy 6.3104, which allows adults to paddle children who are not their own, is counter to that spirit. While it once made sense for the schools to act in loco parentis, in the place of parents, concerning discipline, it is now time to re-think the policy in terms of children’s personal safety and future behavior as citizens.
I look forward to talking more about this with you on April 7th.
Representative, 5th District (Sewanee, Sherwood, Keith Springs)
Policy 6.3104 Corporal Punishment
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 schools1 in accordance with the following guidelines:
1. Corporal punishment shall be administered only after other less stringent measures have failed, or if the conduct of a student is of such nature that corporal punishment is the only reasonable form of punishment under the circumstances;
2. The instrument to be used in administering corporal punishment shall be approved by the principal;
3. Corporal punishment shall be reasonable;
4. Corporal punishment shall be administered in the presence of another professional employee, preferably the principal or assistant principal. Corporal punishment shall be appropriately administered in the office area;
5. The nature of the punishment will be such that it is in proportion to the gravity of the offense, the apparent motive and disposition of the offender, and the influence of the offender’s example and conduct on others; and
6. In determining the use and degree of corporal punishment, consideration will be given to the age, sex, size, physical and emotional condition of the child.
A disciplinary record shall be maintained by the classroom teacher and/or administrator and shall contain the name of the student, the type of misconduct, the type of corporal punishment administered, the name of the person administering the punishment, the name of the witness present and the date and time of punishment.
Disciplinary records shall be filed in the school office and made available to parents or students, whichever is appropriate.