The Good News from Tennessee
Letter from Toni Roberts to friends, May 1, 2002

Hi Everyone,

It looks like the Discipline Act of 2002 will have to be renamed since it isn't going to make it this year. Thanks to all of you who took time to write letters and share your concerns with our State Represenatitives. Many of you sent copies of the letters to me and they were very thoughtful and I am sure they stimulated some deeper thinking. Special thanks to Tom Johnson who visited the Legislative Plaza and delivered our newsletters and to our esteemed founder & President making available to the members of the Education Committee a copy of the Study on Discipline in Tennessee Public Schools done by a Joint Committee of the Legislature in 1989. The bill was referred to the Education Oversight Committee for further study. This could be a great opportunity for us to educate the Education Committee legislators on the need for more a more in depth study of discipline in Tennessee public schools and the inconsistent use of corporal punishment. The Education Oversight Committee is a joint committee of Senators and Representatives who review bills that don't pass but are recommended for further study. They begin this review process after the session ends. The bill could be brought back up in the next session, which would be in January of 2003. I will find time to send you the addresses of the members of the Oversight Committee so that you can send them copies of your letters and so that we can urge them not to encourage more corporal punishment in our public school systems. Thanks again for your time!!

Our meeting went well last week. We discussed ways that we could keep a closer eye on the Legislature since we didn't get wind of this bill until it had already passed the Senate. There are some other education-related organizations who could help us out with this. We will follow-up before the next session. Terry K. wrote a great article which just appeared in the Tennessee School Boards Association Journal, Corporal punishment in schools: A hit or miss proposition. We are also going to submit it to some other professional journals and I plan to put it in our next newsletter. As always, our newsletter mailings are our main expense and our account is beginning to dwindle, enough left for about 1 more mailing, so if you haven't sent in your $10 contribution for this year. . .

We are going to apply for a grant for next year to see if we can get some help with the mailing expenses. We now have a mailing list of around 500 people, more than 100 of them are members and others include Directors of School systems, school board members, Department of education dept. heads and child advocacy organizations in Tennessee. We discussed doing a survey of Tennessee colleges and universities regarding their curriculum related to corporal punishment. We will be refining those questions and hopefully send it out in the Fall.

Thanks for all you input and your ideas, and your support!! Toni

Toni Roberts is vice-president of Tennesseans for Nonviolent School Discipline. Readers can contact her by e-mail at or by snail-mail at P.O. Box 120156, Nashville, TN 37212.

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