The Campbell County Board of Education voted 9-1 Tuesday night to abolish corporal punishment as a form of discipline at county schools. WATCH HERE.Following a closed executive session by the board and attorney Dail Cantrell, Noah Smith offered a motion to eliminate corporal punishment. Most board members, as well as Director Jennifer Fields, then voiced their own opinions on the matter.
“The use of this practice can lead to legal problems, physical harm and has been shown to be an unsuccessful way to discipline,” Smith said in making the motion.
Fields quickly agreed, pointing out, “This can open us up to litigation. I prefer alternatives to corporal punishment.” She also pointed out that many major school districts have already eliminated corporal punishment.
“Our insurance does not cover injuries that might result from corporal punishment, Cantrell added.
Faye Heatherly seconded the motion to eliminate the practice, pointing out a case in which parents had signed a permission letter allowing corporal punishment. “They still sued and we lost the lawsuit,” Heatherly said.
Board chairman Crystal Creekmore read aloud an email from former Director of Schools Donnie Poston. Poston wrote that while principal at Valley View from 1992-94, he did not use corporal punishment, preferring other, more effective forms of discipline.
When the vote was finally held, only Jeffrey Miller voted “no” on the motion to abolish.
At the beginning of the meeting, the board took time to honor Jellico teacher Sandra Davenport, who is retiring after 53 years as an educator in Campbell County. Noah Smith also recognized a dozen or so young men in the audience, who he identified as his fraternity brothers from a Christian fraternity at UT.
In her report to the board, Fields said that the core drilling has been completed at White Oak Elementary and with that data now available, the building committee can begin discussions about the best options for adding more space at that school and whether adding a new gym at that site is feasible or not. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 03/13/2019-8AM)