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Tennessee Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

The term "corporal punishment" refers to the use of physical force, inflicting temporary pain as a means of discipline and classroom control. This may include spanking, slapping, or other "reasonable" means of physical discipline. State laws that allow corporal punishment in schools exempt "reasonable" forms of physical contact, used in the proper context, from child abuse laws. Some state laws prohibit corporal punishment in public education, while other states don't address it at all.

Tennessee Corporal Punishment Laws at a Glance

In Tennessee, as in much of the American South, public schools have wide leverage for the use of corporal punishment. Tennessee statute dictates that it may be used "in a reasonable manner" to maintain discipline and order "for good cause." Therefore, a use of physical force the court deems unreasonable or unnecessary may be charged as a crime.

Some additional details about the statute are listed below. See FindLaw's School Discipline section to learn more.

Code Section 49-6-4103; 4104
Punishment Allowed Corporal punishment allowed if imposed in reasonable manner; local board of education shall adopt rules and regulations to implement and control corporal punishment in its schools.
Circumstances Allowable "Good cause"; in order to maintain discipline and order.

Note: State laws are constantly changing. FindLaw makes every effort to keep its state laws pages updateed, but you may also want to contact a Tennessee education attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Local Adoption of Corporal Punishment Policies in Tennessee

State law directs individual school districts to adopt their own rules and regulations for the use of corporal punishment, so there is quite a bit of variance within Tennessee. Some districts require the teacher or principal to notify parents first, others have an opt-out policy, but most have adopted some sort of corporal punishment strategy. The U.S. Department of Education listed Tennessee among thirteen states that used corporal punishment "frequently" during the 2007-08 school year.

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