Local leaders from the Nollie Jenkins Family Center in Durant, Mississippi, launched the Abolish Corporal Punishment Campaign in 2012. Nollie Jenkins Family Center, a community organization that supports parents and students to become civically engaged leaders, sought to eliminate corporal punishment as a form of discipline across Mississippi.
In Mississippi, state law still states that corporal punishment can be “administered in a reasonable manner” in schools. In Holmes County, students routinely reported being paddled for minor transgressions in school.
Beginning in 2014, students from the Holmes County Consolidated School District, with support from the Nollie Jenkins Family Center, created an online petition to collect signatures endorsing a ban on corporal punishment ban, developed a social-media presence to communicate their views, advocated for change in their community, and educated members of their local school board about the adverse effects of corporal punishment on students.
The campaign proved to be a long, uphill battle, as corporal punishment was supported by members of the school board for years. But in 2018, the district’s new superintendent, James Henderson, requested that the school board ban corporal punishment—and they did. In addition to officially banning corporal punishment, district officials also committed to using district resources to train teachers in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.
AUTHORITY OF THE SCHOOLS TO ENACT DISCIPLINE PROGRAMS
Schools are authorized to enact school-wide discipline programs as long as said programs are consistent with the intent and purposes of Board policy. Recognizing that discipline programs are designed to reward positive behavior while placing limits of negative behavior, schools may enact disciplinary procedures such as the following for those students who demonstrate acts of misconduct.
1. Name on the board or other appropriate means of warning
2. Loss of recess or other class privilege, written assignments, or detention
3. Conference with parents or guardian
4. Referral to principal or designee
Corporal punishment is no longer a disciplinary intervention in the HOLMES CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT and will not be deemed acceptable.
Organizing Engagement thanks Janice Harper of the Nollie Jenkins Family Center, Natalie Chap of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, and Blythe Armitage for their contributions to developing this resource.
This work by Organizing Engagement is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. When excerpting, adapting, or republishing content from this resource, users should reference and link to Organizing Engagement and the organizations that developed the policy.