Education Law

Mississippi Lawsuit Takes on Corporal Punishment of Students, Seeks State Ban on Paddling


A federal lawsuit seeking to have paddling banned in Mississippi claims race and gender unfairly affect how the punishment is applied.

While the court contemplates prohibiting the practice permanently, the suit is asking for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order to stop paddlings, the Calhoun County Journal reports. “Mississippi has the worst record in the country when it comes to corporal punishment and paddled over 30,000 students or approximately 7.5 percent of its student body,” the suit states.

In addition to seeking damages and attorney fees, thesuit is asking the court to declare corporal punishment on students unconstitutional, according to the Journal.

The suit, filed on behalf of Tate County high school student William Cody Childress, claims males constitute almost 75 percent of students paddled in Mississippi. The suit also asserts black students get paddled at disproportionate rates, the Journal says.

Childress alleges he was hit twice “with excessive force” in September 2009, causing him pain when he sat or used the bathroom in the days that followed. The 16-year-old was struck for looking at a picture on a camera in class, while the female student who brought the camera to school was not, the suit claims.

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