Two educators in Tennessee are facing criminal charges after an incident involving the paddling of an elementary school student. Last week, a Jackson County grand jury indicted a teacher from Dodson Branch Elementary School on a charge of simple assault, and an assistant principal on a charge of criminal responsibility of assault. Both individuals have pleaded not guilty.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the charges stem from an incident on October 4th at the school, where the student was paddled twice by the teacher in the presence of the assistant principal. The student later complained of pain and received medical attention. Further details of the incident have not been released.
While many school districts in Tennessee have eliminated the use of corporal punishment, there is no state law explicitly banning it. However, new policies and procedures have been implemented this year for schools that continue to use corporal punishment. The Jackson County School Board’s corporal punishment policy aligns with the state requirements and additional guidelines, as reported by the Tennessean.
Both educators have been placed on administrative leave, and the district is fully cooperating with authorities, according to Jackson County Director of Schools Jason Hardy. He expressed the district’s hope for a timely resolution of the matter and its commitment to serving students to the best of their ability.
At the time of writing, the lawyer representing the teacher has not returned a call requesting comment. It is unknown whether the assistant principal has hired an attorney.