Corporal Punishment in Tennessee
Tennessee does not have a lot of caselaw on the subject of corporal punishment in the family law context. One case that does discuss the issue is Ray v. Ray.
Citing Hawk v. Hawk, 855 S.W.2d 573 (Tenn. 1993), Ray notes that parents have a constitutional right to raise their children without interference from the state, unless their actions pose a risk of substantial harm to the child. The Ray court interpreted this to mean that a parent has a right to determine reasonable and non-abusive methods of discipline.
In Ray, the court upheld an order prohibiting a step-parent from administering corporal punishment. The opinion implies that if a natural parent has a "reasonable basis" for asking that a step-parent be prohibited from administering corporal punishment, the parent is "entitled" to an order prohibiting such conduct. The opinion further implies that a natural parent may not be prohibited from administering non-abusive corporal punishment.
Is there such a thing? The court declined to touch that issue with a ten-foot pole.