State law permits the use of corporal punishment for disciplinary purposes.
Florida Statutes 1002.20 K-12 student and parent rights.
(4) Discipline. — (c) Corporal punishment. —
In accordance with the provisions of s. 1003.32, corporal punishment of a public school student may only be administered by a teacher or school principal within guidelines of the school principal and according to district school board policy. Another adult must be present and must be informed in the student’s presence of the reason for the punishment. Upon request, the teacher or school principal must provide the parent with a written explanation of the reason for the punishment and the name of the other adult who was present.
A district school board having a policy authorizing the use of corporal punishment as a form of discipline shall review its policy on corporal punishment once every 3 years during a district school board meeting held pursuant to s. 1001.372. The district school board shall take public testimony at the board meeting. If such board meeting is not held in accordance with this subparagraph, the portion of the district school board’s policy authorizing corporal punishment expires.
Florida Statutes 1003.32 Authority of teacher; responsibility for control of students; district school board and principal duties.
Subject to law and to the rules of the district school board, each teacher or other member of the staff of any school shall have such authority for the control and discipline of students as may be assigned to him or her by the principal or the principal’s designated representative and shall keep good order in the classroom and in other places in which he or she is assigned to be in charge of students.
(1) In accordance with this section and within the framework of the district school board’s code of student conduct, teachers and other instructional personnel shall have the authority to undertake any of the following actions in managing student behavior and ensuring the safety of all students in their classes and school and their opportunity to learn in an orderly and disciplined classroom:
- (k) Use corporal punishment according to school board policy and at least the following procedures, if a teacher feels that corporal punishment is necessary:
- The use of corporal punishment shall be approved in principle by the principal before it is used, but approval is not necessary for each specific instance in which it is used. The principal shall prepare guidelines for administering such punishment which identify the types of punishable offenses, the conditions under which the punishment shall be administered, and the specific personnel on the school staff authorized to administer the punishment.
- A teacher or principal may administer corporal punishment only in the presence of another adult who is informed beforehand, and in the student’s presence, of the reason for the punishment.
- A teacher or principal who has administered punishment shall, upon request, provide the student’s parent with a written explanation of the reason for the punishment and the name of the other adult who was present.
Florida Statutes 1006.07 District school board duties relating to student discipline and school safety.
(2) CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT. --Adopt a code of student conduct for elementary schools and a code of student conduct for middle and high schools and distribute the appropriate code to all teachers, school personnel, students, and parents, at the beginning of every school year. Each code shall be organized and written in language that is understandable to students and parents and shall be discussed at the beginning of every school year in student classes, school advisory council meetings, and parent and teacher association or organization meetings. Each code shall be based on the rules governing student conduct and discipline adopted by the district school board and shall be made available in the student handbook or similar publication. Each code shall include, but is not limited to:
- (b) Procedures to be followed for acts requiring discipline, including corporal punishment.
Florida Statutes 1006.11 Standard for use of reasonable force.
(1) The State Board of Education shall adopt Standard for the use of reasonable force by district school board personnel to maintain a safe and orderly learning environment. Such Standard shall be distributed to each school in the state and shall provide guidance to district school board personnel in receiving the limitations on liability specified in subsection (2). (2) Except in the case of excessive force or cruel and unusual punishment, a teacher or other member of the instructional staff, a principal or the principal’s designated representative, or a school bus driver shall not be civilly or criminally liable for any action carried out in conformity with the State Board of Education and district school board rules regarding the control, discipline, suspension, and expulsion of students, including, but not limited to, any exercise of authority under s. 1003.32 or s. 1006.09.
Florida Statutes 1012.28 Public school personnel; duties of school principals.
(1) Public school principals shall supervise public school personnel as the district school board determines necessary. (2) The school principal is responsible for recommending to the district school superintendent the employment of instructional personnel to be assigned to the school to which the principal is assigned. (3) Each school principal is responsible for the performance of all personnel employed by the district school board and assigned to the school to which the principal is assigned. The school principal shall faithfully and effectively apply the personnel evaluation system approved pursuant to s. 1012.34. (4) Each school principal shall assist the teachers within the school to use student assessment data, as measured by student learning gains pursuant to s. 1008.22, for self-evaluation. (5) Each school principal shall perform such duties as may be assigned by the district school superintendent, pursuant to the rules of the district school board. Such rules shall include, but are not limited to, rules relating to administrative responsibility, instructional leadership in implementing the Sunshine State Standard and the overall educational program of the school to which the school principal is assigned, submission of personnel recommendations to the district school superintendent, administrative responsibility for records and reports, administration of corporal punishment, and student suspension. (6) A principal may refuse to accept the placement or transfer of instructional personnel by the district school superintendent to his or her school unless the instructional personnel has a performance rating of effective or highly effective under s. 1012.34. (7) A school principal who fails to comply with this section shall be ineligible for any portion of the performance pay and differentiated pay under s. 1012.22. (8) The principal of a school participating in the Principal Autonomy Pilot Program Initiative under s. 1011.6202 has the following additional authority and responsibilities:
- (a) In addition to the authority provided in subsection (6), the authority to select qualified instructional personnel for placement or to refuse to accept the placement or transfer of instructional personnel by the district school superintendent. Placement of instructional personnel at a participating school in a participating school district does not affect the employee’s status as a school district employee.
- (b) The authority to deploy financial resources to school programs at the principal’s discretion to help improve student achievement, as defined in s. 1008.34(1), and meet performance goals identified in the principal autonomy proposal submitted pursuant to s. 1011.6202.
- (c) To annually provide to the district school superintendent and the district school board a budget for the operation of the participating school that identifies how funds provided pursuant to s. 1011.69(2) are allocated.
Recommendations on the Use of Reasonable Force by School Personnel
This report provides recommendations and Standard for the use of reasonable force by school personnel.