The current Memphis City Schools policy toward corporal punishment says it is permissible "in cases meriting such action. Generally speaking, other means of punishment should be tried before resorting to this method of discipline."
As of press time, the school district's community forum on corporal punishment had not yet begun. We hope, however, that the community and the district will want to rethink this policy.
Though it says teachers must get the permission of an administrator to use corporal punishment, the policy gives teachers a pass to hit students. And in light of recent situations the Hamilton High basketball coach who was suspended from coaching indefinitely because he used corporal punishment and verbal abuse with his student athletes, or the Hickory Ridge Middle School choir teacher who was reprimanded for using too much force it seems teachers sometimes do not understand what offenses merit such action.
The corporal punishment policy was first adopted in 1958. It has been revised twice since them, in 1963 and 1982. It may be time to suspend it indefinitely, as well.