Cherokee's school board revokes policy on paddlings
By Diane R. Stepp
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 17, 2003

Cherokee County school board members voted Thursday to abolish corporal punishment in schools.

The district is one of the last large school systems in the metro area to withdraw official sanction for paddling unruly students as a form of discipline.

In practice, no Cherokee student has been paddled in the past three years since Superintendent Frank Petruzielo put a stop to spanking.

In a memo to principals, he said he could envision no circumstances under which it would be appropriate.

The board's vote was unanimous and without comment. Final approval of the policy change is expected next month on second reading. No parents, teachers or principals turned out at the school board meeting to protest or support the policy change.

"I think principals are relieved," board Vice Chairwoman Kelly Campbell said.

Campbell, a special education teacher at a private school in Cobb County, said paddling is no deterrent to bad behavior and that it is not for teachers and principals to administer.

"We're not their parents," she said.

Petruzielo said he believes the board is on the right track. "There are some who believe violence begets violence. There is some evidence of that in today's society," he said.

In recommending the change, Petruzielo had earlier warned board members of possible legal liabilities that teachers or principals might face for paddling students.

New policy language brands corporal punishment as "inappropriate" in today's public school climate but adds protections for teachers and administrators who may need to take "physical measures" to protect staff or school employees and students from harming others or themselves.

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