NASHVILLE — A bill that limits the use of corporal punishment for students with disabilities unless schools have parental written permission is on its way to Gov. Bill Haslam's desk.
Senators approved the measure, sponsored by Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis, on a 28-0 vote. The measure previously passed the House.
The bill originally set out to ban corporal punishment outright for all students with individualized education plans but was amended previously in the House to permit it in instances where parents give permission.
"There's a lot of high schools across Tennessee trying to address this issue," Kyle said later. "So in this bill we have left that if a parent wants to opt in and allow corporal punishment for their child, they can."
She said a "a lot of behavior we think is acting out, or a child is upset, is due to their disability," citing cases where a student may have attention-deficit disorder (ADD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Parents are better positioned to know whether or not physical punishment may be warranted, Kyle added.
Previous efforts to curb such punishment gained new traction following a state Comptroller study.
It found students across the state who had a disability were more likely to face spanking, paddling or similar forms of punishment than their peers.
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