Brian P. Hinote, assistant professor of sociology at Middle Tennessee State University, said spanking is a traditional form of discipline in the South. He told The (Nashville) Tennessean residents in the heart of the U.S. Bible Belt cite "spare the rod and spoil the child" as a Biblical endorsement of corporal punishment.
"Spanking is viewed as a way of delivering children from hell," Hinote said.
Southern kids are spanked more at school as well. Individual school districts decide whether to use corporal punishment, Rachel Woods, the Tennessee Department of Education director of communications, said.
Ken Lass, a Nashville psychologist, doesn't advocate spanking. He said it may teach fear more than respect, cause children to act out more and deny them a chance to think about what they did. However, he added, many of his clients have a family tradition of spanking and he respects that part of their cultural upbringing.