A closer look at corporal punishment and Mississippi law - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

A closer look at corporal punishment and Mississippi law


In the wake of the arrest of Tri County Academy Headmaster, Mark Johnson, we are taking a closer look into what Mississippi law says about corporal punishment and what's allowed in a classroom.

The corporal punishment debate came to light in the metro after the case of Tiffany Cox's son, who was paddled by Johnson for alleged misconduct at Tri County Academy. The Flora Police Department charged Johnson with simple assault for the incident.

At the academy, which is a private school, corporal punishment is allowed, but Madison County's District Attorney Michael Guest says this incident is different.

"The bodily injury that was inflicted in the bruising and Lacerations and swellings and things of that nature would arise to the point where criminal charges should be filed," said Guest.

Mississippi Code section 97-5-39 explains how and when corporal punishment can be abused according to state law.

"Serious bodily injury had been defined by our legislature as to include permanent disfigurement, internal bleeding, fracturing of bones, permanent scaring or disfiguring," said Guest. "So clearly even though the injuries were severe they did not arise to the level as serious bodily injury."

However, the injuries were enough to file a misdemeanor charge.

This isn't the first time the corporal punishment debate came to light in the metro. You may remember back in 2010, when former Murrah coach, Marlon Dorsey made national news for whipping his players. He was eventually removed.  

The Mississippi Department of Education states it is ultimately up to the district on whether or not to enforce corporal punishment in the classroom.

Johnson's case is being tried in Flora Municipal Court. If he is convicted he can face up to a $500 fine or six months in jail.

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