Shelby County Schools Repeal Corporal Punishment

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(Memphis, TN) How your child will be disciplined at school just changed.

No child will be paddled in Shelby County Schools.

The decision came while 7 of the 23 commissioners were not present.The superintendent tried to wait until the next meeting to have the vote, but other members said school starts next week and a policy needs to be in place.The debate began over the age-old form of punishment.

It always stirs emotions, and Tuesday night was no different at the Shelby County School Board meeting.

Commissioner Sarah Lewis said when she was a principal, she had a paddle called Mr. Greenjeans.

"I would only have to say Mr. Greenjeans and people would start shaking from the top of their head to the bottom of their feet," she said.

Since those days, she said she's changed her mind about corporal punishment.

"In today's era, with everything happening in this nation,  I plead to you don't add to it because it will not be accepted. There are ways to do that without beating children," she said

Just about everyone on the board agreed repealing the corporal punishment policy was needed.

David Reaves, who had been torn about what to do, said he voted to repeal because principals told him it was rarely used anyway.

"I asked a principal, he said David I haven't used it in ten years and frankly I'm scared to use it for getting sued," Reaves said.

Others said the district needs to explore more creative discipline ideas.

"I think its incumbent upon us as an educational institution to look for alternative ways of discipline that have tremendous educational value," Commissioner Betty Mallot said.

In the end, the vote was 13 to 2.

Only Mike Wissman and Joe Clayton voted to keep corporal punishment.

The commissioners also approved changes to the grading system for grades 6 through twelve (click here for full details).