I have recently read some unusual school corporal punishment policies from various schools in the South. These are not outdated policies from the past, these are school paddling policies from the 2012-13 school year. Two schools that seem to paddle students often, require corporal punishment for certain offenses and should a parent not want their child to be paddled, then the parent is required to come to the school and paddle their child in front of the principal. One of the policies actually specifies “firm strokes” with the paddle. Their policies are summarized below:
Community Christian School, Norman, Oklahoma
Students here are expected to say “yes sir” and “no sir”. Various behavior “will not be tolerated” and one of the consequences is “swats administered to the child’s bottom”, maximum 3 per day. The principal will administer all spankings, unless parents wish to do it themselves, in which case they must come to the school and apply the swats in the principal’s presence.
Highland Rim Christian Academy, Tullahoma, Oklahoma
“Anyone caught cheating will be dealt with quickly and firmly. It will result in corporal correction.” So will stealing. Corporal discipline may also be used for lack of respect, vandalism, and multiple lesser offenses. In this event there are now two options. Under Option A, the parent “is required to come to the school and to spank the child in the presence of the Principal or Administrator, or a staff member of the same sex as the child”. Failure to do this may result in the child’s expulsion. If the parent chooses Option B, it is left to the principal to decide to paddle the student, max. three “firm” strokes.
I often discuss the maximum amount of paddle swats allowed to be administered at any given time, but the school policy below, they actually revised their policy from a maximum of three swats, to no maximum. I am guessing that either their paddlings were not as effective as they wanted them to be, or that there were occasions in which more than three swats were required. Either way, under the new policy, you can imagine some bottoms are getting bruised.
Commerce High School and Middle School, Commerce
In the case of minor infractions, one warning will be given, and if the misbehavior continues, “corporal punishment will be used”. CP or suspension, without a warning, is the penalty for major infractions, and is specifically mentioned as a consequence for tobacco use. In a change to the rules, no maximum number of swats is now stipulated (previously 3). “Punishment must be applied to the buttocks only.”
The all black school below has a very interesting policy. For students to even attend this school parents must consent to their child being paddled. In addition, each week there is a weekly meeting, done at each grade level, and any student requiring discipline is actually paddled in front of all of the students in that grade. The is the 1st policy I have ever heard of in which corporal punishment is mandatory and always applied in a public setting.
Memphis Academy of Health Sciences
This unusual and weirdly-named institution is a charter middle and high school founded in 2003 by “100 Black Men of Memphis, Inc.” and seems in practice to be 100% African-American in its staff and students. The document is a form which parents must sign agreeing to the school’s discipline policy, which involves a weekly meeting for each grade level, conducted by the principal, at which all students on the disciplinary list for that week receive a paddling in front of the other students. It is fairly remarkable that the school does this, and commendably transparent that it explicitly says so. This process “has had a tremendous impact on students’ behavior and understanding of what is and is not acceptable behavior at MAHS”.