Middle Tennessee mom says corporal punishment went too far; left bruises, welts

(Special to WZTV)

LAFAYETTE, Tenn. (WZTV) — A middle Tennessee mom is concerned after her child was paddled at school and state officials found there was no wrong-doing - prompting the question: What kind of corporal punishment is legal in Tennessee and how far is too far?

Ashley Lauer is questioning the corporal punishment that she agreed to concerning her school-aged son after she says it caused bruises and welts.

This isn’t the first time Lauer’s son, who attends 6th grade at Macon County Jr. High School, has received corporal punishment. Back in October, Laurel got a call from the school saying her son had said something inappropriate in class and was asked if he could be paddled. Appalled at what her son had said, something he apparently learned on YouTube, the mom agreed. Lauer’s son was paddled per the terms that were laid out to her by school officials.

This time – Lauer said the paddling went too far and she is looking for answers.

At the end of November, Lauer got a call that her son had missed several homework assignments and was asked if it’d be okay to paddle the student. Thinking she knew what was coming, Lauer agreed.

School officials confirm the principal of Macon Middle paddled Lauer’s son. But Lauer said when her son came home, he was crying and she said she was alarmed by the welts and bruises on her son’s behind. The mom says her son was wearing underwear, shorts and sweatpants at the time of the paddling.

Lauer thought this was too far. She agreed to have her son paddled, but not to the welts and bruises that incurred.

Lauer reached out to the Department of Children’s Services who sent a Nashville agent to investigate the case. Lauer said the agent came to her home and took pictures of her son and a report of the incident.

Last Friday, Lauer was informed by DCS that the agency found no wrong-doing on the behalf of the principal. Macon County Schools director confirmed this information to FOX 17 News and maintained that the principal followed school code and Tennessee law when it came to the paddling.

Now Lauer has taken to social media tin hopes to warn other parents of what can happen when you agree to corporal punishment.

Last year, the Legislature has passed a bill that requires public schools in Tennessee to report to the state Department of Education on their use of corporal punishment.

School systems must now give details that include: each school where children were spanked, the reason corporal punishment was used and whether the discipline involved a disabled student. In cases where the children have special needs, the report must describe the type of disability the student has.

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