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Georgia Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Corporal punishment in public schools, which may include spanking and paddling, has been outlawed in more than half of all states. But the practice is still allowed in Georgia, with certain restrictions. Georgia corporal punishment laws require that any physical punishment may not be excessive or used as a first line of punishment.

Georgia corporal punishment law specifies that a student must be warned first. In other words, spanking or hitting cannot be the go-to method of punishment in the classroom. However, the use of force may be authorized as a first line punishment if the student's acts are "so antisocial or disruptive in nature as to shock the conscience."

For example, a teacher may use force to defend him or herself from a violent student or to prevent that student from hurting another person. Otherwise, corporal punishment must be administered in the presence of a principal, assistant principal, or another designated witness. If a parent or guardian does not approve of the use of corporal punishment against their child, they must provide a written statement from a physician stating that it would be detrimental to the child's health.

Additionally, the statute directs local school boards to "determine and adopt penalties and regulations" pertaining to the proper use of corporal punishment by teachers and principals.

The following chart summarizes the main provisions of Georgia corporal punishment in public school laws. FindLaw's School Discipline section contains additional articles and resources.

Code Section 20-2-730, et seq.
Punishment Allowed Corporal punishment allowed, subject to various restrictions.
Circumstances Allowable It may not be excessive or unduly severe or be used as a first line of punishment; it must be administered in the presence of a school official; a written explanation must be provided on request; and it may not be administered if a physician certifies that the child's mental or emotional stability could be affected.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Georgia education attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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