Paddling policy getting another look in Morgan Co.

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WARTBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - Paddling students in class is a controversial form of punishment now up for debate in Morgan County.

The director of schools decided to take another look at the policy after former principal Penny Boyd was charged with child abuse for using excessive force when paddling a five year old student.

In Morgan County Schools, corporal punishment is allowed, but only as a last disciplinary resort, and parents have the option of not allowing it.

Most of the people at tonight's meeting were teachers, who feel conflicted: Is paddling a kid really teaching them a lesson? And could they be liable if a parent disagrees with the punishment?

One principal at the meeting said she doesn't even have a paddle in school.

Another said she's paddled five students in three years. She only does it when a parent requests it, and is there to witness it.

Most teachers agree that if kids are disobeying rules, they should be punished.

"What if I'm sitting in class, and another child is taking that learning environment away from the class. That's not fair," said one teacher.

Theresa Owen believes children are more undisciplined than ever, and the blame should rest with the parents.

"This all starts at home. My kids know what lines they can cross and what they can't. Kids these days, they need to learn," said Owen, who is a parent.

"I think that is a reflection, as you heard a lot of people express in that meeting, of a home environment where students have challenges, where parents don't provide appropriate supervision," said Edd Diden, the Director of Schools.

According to a survey conducted by the school system, of 204 parents, 165 want corporal punishment to continue, and only 39 said no.

The board is left with three options: keeping the policy as is, installing an age limit, or eliminating the policy entirely.

If any changes do happen, they'll come in the next few months.

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