Messages from Our Newest Members

I e-mailed you a few months ago and you mailed me some newsletters. I wanted to say thankyou for that. My son starts kindergarten in about a week and I have given his principal and teacher a newsletter. I am in the process of writing each individual board member a letter with a newsletter attached.


I support ending the use of corporal punishment in our schools. My son is eleven, has PDD, and is in a LRE special ed self-contained classroom setting in Jackson Madison County public school system. He recently told me of an occurrence in his classroom about a student that I know from past years being in my son's classes being paddled by the class assistant and teacher for taking a drink off his desk and taking a sip out of it. Mind you the child I am talking about is severely mentally delayed and basically non-verbal little girl who weighs less than 50 lbs and is fragile.

I met another child from his class and his mom at the grocery and asked him about what happened and he told the same story. I believe my son and this other child when they say this happened. I do not know the child it happened to mother's name or I would call her because I know this child was not able to tell her mom what happened.

I am confused on exactly what to do next. To hit a child like this for ANY reason is abhorrent and I will not be able to live with myself if I do not do something to stop this situation. The teachers in question are young men and if they have such little self control when it comes to discipline I am afraid for all the children in the class. Please if you have any suggestions on how to handle this let me know.


I want to help stop the violent forms of discipline in our schools. I am a mother of a pre-kindergartener who is about to start kindergarten this fall. I was truly shocked to discover that our school is using corporal punishment. I typed a corporal punishment exemption letter and spoke with the principal. He told us that he would honor our wishes, but I am not satisfied. I am disturbed by the fact that children are still being punished in such a barbaric way. I would like to help in any way I can.

I have recently discovered that our schools in Tennessee are legally allowed to use corporal punishment, but several schools have chosen to use effective, nonviolent forms of discipline. I would like to propose this to our schools in Weakley County, but I am not sure how to begin this proposal. I am passionate about changing our schools for the better. I would appreciate any help or advice that you can give me.


Hi there, I'm e-mailing today because my niece was paddled today at Edgemont Elementary School in Newport, Tn. My 8 year old niece is seeing a counselor, they have been making great progress until today. They have been working to make her feel better about herself, and in doing that her work at school is getting better.

Today because she was asked to do her work and was just sitting there she was paddled. I thought when we sent our kids to school we were supposed to feel they are safe? The reason I'm e-mailing and not my sister is because she is on her computer trying to contact anybody she can. We would like to know how we can get this banned before it hurts another child?



My son, age 8, was paddled because he did not have his homework assignment signed by a parent. He had completed the assignment, however, when he asked me to sign it, I told him that I was busy and would sign it later. He returned to school the next day, without my signature and was paddled. (The boy's mother was present at the school working in the school cafeteria.)

At the beginning of the school year, we had sent a note to the teacher requesting that our child not be paddled, however, we were told that there was no note in his file. We had no prior knowledge that our son was having a problem completing homework assignments and never received a discipline report from the school. We were not notified prior to the paddling or following the paddling.

After meeting at length with the Principal, the Director of Schools and the Vice-principal who administered the paddling, we were unable to obtain a current copy of the district corporal punishment policy or the district complaint policy. The school district insists that they did nothing wrong. The Vice-principal stated that if he were to call every time he paddled a kid, he would be on the phone all day.


I am very concerned about corporal punishment still alive and kicking in Tennessee. We've just moved here a year ago from Massachusetts and were unaware of it existing still in Tennessee.

We have custody of our 2 granddaughters one of which will be attending kindergarten next year. She also has seizures which makes it scarier if she were to be paddled. Do you have any further info of corporal punishment for the schools where we live?



Please add me to your contact list. We moved here from South Dakota and were shocked to discover that corporal punishment is still allowed in so many states, Tennessee included.

Have corroborations been substantiated between the high incidence of domestic violence, school violence, and corporal punishment? I am a firm believer that corporal punishment conveys the statement that I am in control because my stick is bigger.

Thank you!


I just read the Senate Joint Resolution #175 of 1989. I disagree with keeping it at the local level. Many school administrators will not even entertain the idea of banning corporal punishment unless given a directive by the State Dept. of Education or unless there is a new state law.

Is there any legislation pending in this session? Is anyone actively pursuing this issue at the State Dept. of Ed.? I am an ESL teacher in a rural east TN system. I am concerned that some of my students are being "disciplined" without parental notification and despite the language barrier. Any suggestions on this?



Hello. I currently reside in Rhode Island and I am relocating to Sweetwater, Tennessee in Monroe County within the next two months. I had an old magazine from Nov. 2002, Family Circle, about paddling and I was horrified to see Tennessee as one of the states that still practice this form of punishment.

I would like to know if you have a list of schools who still administer this type of discipline and if the school my kindergartner will be attending is part of that list. I will home school my child before I will allow her to be witness or victim to this type of discipline.

Keep up the fight!


I am 41 years old and have no children, but I believe paddling should be abolished in all schools. I have read that just over half the states have abolished corporal punishment in schools. Does that include private schools or public schools only? Does it depend on the state?

I have also read where parents file lawsuits against teachers and school boards when their child is injured due to a paddling. How effective are these lawsuits? Does anyone include the state in which they reside in these lawsuits, for not banning corporal punishment in their schools? Is that legal? Could it be taken to a higher court? If the state had banned corporal punishment, the child would not have been injured.

Do educators in corporal punishment banned states not try to educate the educators who paddle, or do they just think it's none of their business? Don't they share ideas?

I am interested in becoming a member of your organization.



My daughter, age 7, was paddled in the school cafeteria by the principal for talking. We had sent a note to the school at the beginning of the year asking that our children not be paddled.

When we spoke to the principal about the incident and the letter they had sent requesting that their children not be paddled, they were told by the principal that she could not know what was in every child's file.

The principal told Tennesseans for Nonviolent School Discipline that she did not consider it corporal punishment, "It was just a spat". The principal said that it didn't hurt and the kids didn't even cry.

Recently this same parent reported that their son had been threatened with a paddling if he did not return a paper to school. The children have since been transferred to a non-paddling school district.

TNVSD gave copies of the booklet "Prevention Strategies That Work" to the principal and teachers at the school.


While researching an article that I am writing on corporal punishment within the Tennessee school system, I noticed that Bradford was listed as one of the leaders in the abolition of corporal punishment within their school. However, that information is incorrect. Bradford does allow the practice of corporal punishment within their school.

I had to sign a form stating that my child was not allowed to be spanked at school. And it is a good thing that I did, because within two days I was called to school because his teacher wanted me to spank my son for being unorganized. Mind you, he is on time with his homework and never fights in school, but they wanted me to spank him for being unorganized. Just to let you know.

Sincerely, Concerned Parent

Tennesseans for Nonviolent School Disicpline www.forkidsake.org