A new report on corporal punishment in Tennessee public schools was released Wednesday by the Comptroller's Office of Research and Education Accountability (OREA).

Corporal punishment includes spanking, paddling and other forms of physical punishment imposed on a student.

The report explains that OREA reviewed 148 school board policies in the state and determined that 109 district personnel have a policy that allows corporal punishment.

According to OREA, most of the policies are similar to one another and leave discretion to the principal, assistant principal or teacher who administers corporal punishment.

OREA's analysis showed: 

  • The use of corporal punishment varies in districts where it is allowed. In the 2013-14 school year, 907 schools were located in districts allowing corporal punishment. Of those 907 schools, 40 percent reported using it to discipline students.  
  • Students with disabilities received corporal punishment at a higher statewide rate than students without disabilities for two of the three most recent reporting years.  
  • The number of students with disabilities receiving corporal punishment declined from 2009-10 to 201314, but not as much as the decline for students without disabilities. There were about seven percent fewer students with disabilities who received corporal punishment in 2013-14 than in 2009-10, while the number of students without disabilities receiving corporal punishment declined by about 46 percent across the same time frame.  
  • Of the schools that used corporal punishment for students with and without disabilities, about 80 percent used corporal punishment at a higher rate for students with disabilities in all three reporting years.  

OREA has also composed a report that includes a list of all schools that reported using corporal punishment in one or more of the last three reporting years. It includes the number of students with and without disabilities who received corporal punishment. You can read the report on OREA's website.