Parents will soon get their say on corporal punishment in city schools
TV-5, Memphis, June 8, 2004

Memphis parents will soon get their say on corporal punishment in city schools. Several recent incidents have put the controversial subject back in the spotlight. Corporal punishment is only supposed to be used in serious violations of school conduct and must follow certain protocols. But the superintendent and parents say that's not happening, so either it goes or gets a major overhaul.

Hamilton High coach Ted Anderson will be severely disciplined after reports he paddled basketball players for not playing up to standard. Superintendent Carol Johnson says more district employees could be headed down the same path. Johnson said, "I don't believe Mr. Anderson is the only coach that has violated this policy, as least by the feedback I have received." Johnson is calling for a public hearing on the corporal punishment subject and she's not alone. Deni Hirsch, School Board member said, "We have to make very specific instructions to our administrators what is appropriate." School board members say they hear complaints that board policy on corporal punishment is not being followed. For example, punishment is supposed to be administered by or in-front of a school administrator, with a witness and only for items such as discipline.

Parents we spoke with are against corporal punishment in schools. Parent Amy Mulroy said, "I think they can get their points across in better ways that will teach the children violence is not the answer to problems in the world and the schools." Parent Katie Gray said, "Kids today, paddling don't mean nothing to them. They hurt for that moment then they back doing the same thing." Administrators vow something must and will be done whether it's a clarification of the policy or a total change of policy.

A national group is in the process of reviewing the districts policy. In the last few hours Action News 5 has learned coach Ted Anderson did not know he was suspended or being transferred until he watched Action News 5 Monday night. A school spokesperson said it was unfortunate that he was not notified but he did know action was coming.

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