Hamilton County considers striking corporal punishment

Tyner Middle Academy principal Crystal Sorrells says she uses this paddle on students who misbehave (Image: WTVC).

The new Hamilton County Schools leader wants to get rid of corporal punishment.

Tyner Middle Principal Crystal Sorrells says she will do whatever the district decides is best for all schools but since she started using paddling as a punishment, her students are spending more time in the classroom.

"My perspective has changed over the years. My first year as a principal I was not a fan of corporal punishment," Sorrells said.

Sorrells says Tyner Middle has the most recordings of corporal punishment of all Hamilton County schools.

Her policy is 3 licks or 3 days of suspension.

Most of the time, the punishment is for behavior that disrupts class often.

She started paddling as a way to keep kids in the classroom.

"For most students, especially, they would much rather get their 3 licks and go back to class than have to face their parents with a suspension," she said.

Sorrells says she has strict guidelines to follow before she can paddle a student, like, she must have a parent's permission and she has to know the child.

"There has to be a level of trust. There's never a time when the intent is to do harm to any child. Discipline is not harmful, discipline is just that: discipline. We want children to learn from the experience," Sorrells explained.

Dr. Ricardo Causo says it may not seem like it at the time, but spanking or paddling a child, does harm them.

"Even though it may be a quick fix it can lead to violent behavior in children, especially when they reach their teenage years which can be carried on into their married life, by abusing their spouse," Dr. Causo said.

Dr. Causo is a behavioral pediatrician.

He says there are better ways to discipline your children.

"Timeouts, taking away privileges, take away video games. What I personally recommend is to give them two chances," he said.

Dr. Causo says he thinks of spanking as a quick fix..

He says taking away toys or other privileges, works better for long term behavior changes.

The Department of Education says they will work with teachers to determine whether stopping corporal punishment is the best idea.

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