CROSSVILLE (WATE) - The Cumberland County School Board is looking at a change to the school system's policy on paddling.
Corporal punishment is already allowed in Cumberland County schools, but only if parents opt-in.
Members of the school board's policy committee proposed a change that would only require parents to fill out a form if they want their children to be excluded from corporal punishment.
"We have 7,500 students and that's a lot of paperwork just to sign yes you can spank my child so we're eliminating a lot of paperwork," explained board member Jim Blalock, a supporter of the change.
The proposed addition to the current corporal punishment policy reads: "In order to be excluded from corporal punishment, it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to obtain an exclusion form and submit to the principal of the school within two weeks of enrollment. If corporal punishment is refused, the student will be directed to three days in-school suspension or three Saturday school assignments at the principal's discretion."
The proposal worries school board member Charles Tollett. "We could cut down on paper work by doing away with the policy all together," he said.
Tollett knows his opinion is in the minority, but he wishes the schools would do away with all corporal punishment.
"The argument we get is that we have to use corporal punishment because that's the only language these children understand, and my point is well what a wonderful opportunity to teach them a second language, a language of love and acceptance," Tollett said.
But parents who spoke to 6 News think paddling should be a part of school.
"I think it should be allowed as long as the parents allow it. We were spanked as kids, and I think that's the problem today is not enough discipline," said Melissa Tollett, a mother of two, who's not related to the school board member.
Tammie Blevins also agrees it should stay in the schools. "As long as there are guidelines. I have children who need it," she said.
That majority opinion is why the school board is considering the change.
"Out of 7,000 students, we have probably maybe 3,000 to 4,000 that say you can't paddle them so that's very few," Blalock said.
If the proposal is approved, parents who fail to obtain and fill out the new form are giving the school permission to paddle their children, and there's a worry that could lead to trouble.
"I have no problems with lawsuits. If we do what's right and what's legal and according to policy and according to what's law, I have no problem with lawsuits," Blalock said.
He also says Cumberland County is unique in its policy regarding corporal punishment. It is not allowed in Knox County Schools.
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