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A bill in the Mississippi Legislature would prohibit the use of corporal punishment in public schools.

The New Albany and Union County School Districts still allow corporal punishment as a form of discipline.

“From a national perspective, the issue of corporal punishment has been a consistent topic of discussion in the education world,” said New Albany Superintendent Lance Evans. “Therefore, it is fitting that our legislators are exploring this topic.”

There is already a state law that says corporal punishment cannot be administered to children with disabilities.

Asked if the New Albany School District should consider getting rid of corporal punishment, Evans said, “The New Albany School District has always been progressive in seeking out various ways to correct disruptive student behavior.  We will certainly be in compliance with any law set forth by our Legislature.”

The New Albany and Union County school districts have similar corporal punishment polices.

The school districts’ policies state that corporal punishment cannot be administered “maliciously” or “for the purpose of revenge.”

They also say that less stringent discipline measures, such as counseling or parental conferences, should be tried before administering corporal punishment.

Factors such as the size, age, condition of the student, the type of instrument to be used, the amount of force to be used and the part of the body to be struck must be considered before giving corporal punishment.

The school principal or assistant principal can administer corporal punishment. Corporal punishment must be given in the presence of another certified school employee.

Under the policy, corporal punishment is defined as the “reasonable use of physical contact by a principal or assistant principal as may be necessary to maintain discipline, to enforce a school rule, for self-protection or for the protection of other students from disruptive students.”

The bill to ban corporal punishment in public schools is sponsored by State Rep. Carl Mickens, D-Brooksville.

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