State law permits the use of corporal punishment for disciplinary purposes.
Child Abuse Prevention Handout
Handout addresses signs of child abuse, mandated reporting, and distinguishes between child abuse and corporal punishment, the latter of which is legal in Georgia.
Official Code of Georgia Annotated 20-2-730. Policies and regulations on use of corporal punishment
All area, county, and independent boards of education shall be authorized to determine and adopt policies and regulations relating to the use of corporal punishment by school principals and teachers employed by such boards.
Official Code of Georgia Annotated 20-2-731. When and how corporal punishment may be administered
An area, county, or independent board of education may, upon the adoption of written policies, authorize any principal or teacher employed by the board to administer, in the exercise of his sound discretion, corporal punishment on any pupil or pupils placed under his supervision in order to maintain proper control and discipline. Any such authorization shall be subject to the following requirements:
- (1) The corporal punishment shall not be excessive or unduly severe;
- (2) Corporal punishment shall never be used as a first line of punishment for misbehavior unless the pupil was informed beforehand that specific misbehavior could occasion its use; provided, however, that corporal punishment may be employed as a first line of punishment for those acts of misconduct which are so antisocial or disruptive in nature as to shock the conscience;
- (3) Corporal punishment must be administered in the presence of a principal or assistant principal, or the designee of the principal or assistant principal, employed by the board of education authorizing such punishment, and the other principal or assistant principal, or the designee of the principal or assistant principal, must be informed beforehand and in the presence of the pupil of the reason for the punishment;
- (4) The principal or teacher who administered corporal punishment must provide the child's parent, upon request, a written explanation of the reasons for the punishment and the name of the principal or assistant principal, or designee of the principal or assistant principal, who was present; provided, however, that such an explanation shall not be used as evidence in any subsequent civil action brought as a result of the corporal punishment; and
- (5) Corporal punishment shall not be administered to a child whose parents or legal guardian has upon the day of enrollment of the pupil filed with the principal of the school a statement from a medical doctor licensed in Georgia stating that it is detrimental to the child's mental or emotional stability.
Official Code of Georgia Annotated 20-2-732. When principal or teacher not liable for administering corporal punishment
No principal or teacher who shall administer corporal punishment to a pupil or pupils under his care and supervision in conformity with the policies and regulations of the area, county, or independent board of education employing him and in accordance also with this subpart shall be held accountable or liable in any criminal or civil action based upon the administering of corporal punishment where the corporal punishment is administered in good faith and is not excessive or unduly severe.
Official Code of Georgia Annotated 20-2-740. Annual report by local boards of education regarding disciplinary and placement actions; annual study by Department of Education
(a) Each local board of education shall file an annual report, by August 1 of each year, with the Department of Education regarding disciplinary and placement actions taken during the prior school year. Such report shall classify the types of actions into the following categories:
- (1) Actions in which a student was assigned to in-school suspension;
- (2) Actions in which a student was suspended for a period of ten days or less;
- (3) Actions in which a student was suspended for a period of more than ten days but not beyond the current school quarter or semester;
- (4) Actions in which a student was expelled beyond the current school quarter or semester but not permanently expelled;
- (5) Actions in which a student was permanently expelled;
- (6) Actions in which a student was placed in an alternative educational setting;
- (7) Actions in which a student was suspended from riding the bus;
- (8) Actions in which corporal punishment was administered; and
- (9) Actions in which a student was removed from class pursuant to subsection (b) of Code Section 20-2-738.
(b) For each category of disciplinary or placement action listed in paragraphs (1) through (9) of subsection (a) of this Code section, the local board shall provide the following information: the number of students subject to the type of disciplinary or placement action; the age and grade level of such students; such students' race and gender; and the number of students subject to the type of disciplinary action who were eligible for free or reduced price lunches under federal guidelines. For each action listed in paragraph (9) of subsection (a) of this Code section, the local board shall also provide information regarding the decisions of placement review committees and the disciplinary and placement decisions made by principals or their designees. The data required by this Code section shall be reported separately for each school within the local school system and collected and reported in compliance with the requirements of 20 U.S.C. Sections 1232g and 1232h.
(c) The Department of Education shall conduct a study for each school year based upon the statistical data filed by local boards pursuant to this Code section for the purpose of determining trends in discipline. The department shall also utilize existing demographic data on school personnel as needed to establish trends in discipline. Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to authorize the public release of personally identifiable information regarding students or school personnel. The department shall prepare a report for the General Assembly on the study annually and notify the members of the General Assembly of the availability of the report in the manner which it deems to be most effective and efficient.