Why corporal punishment is still used in some US schools

Stock image showing a person spanking young people

Corporal punishment at school is still legal in 19 states in the United States.

A video of a Florida principal hitting a 6-year-old student with a paddle caused anger online.

A graphic video taken by a child’s mother on her mobile phone last month shows a student sitting in a chair and crying while Melissa Carter, principal of Central Elementary School in Clewiston, Florida, is rowing three times. Ms. Carter is currently under investigation by the Hendry County Board of Education and the local sheriff’s office.

Corporal punishment (paddling, spanking, or any other form of corporal punishment) is not permitted in Hendry County schools.

However, while corporal punishment has been outlawed as a punishment for US military training centers, juvenile training schools, and crimes, slap or spanking children remains legal in 19 states across the country.

Let’s take a look at the situation of corporal punishment in US schools today.

Where is it allowed in the United States?

Nineteen states in the United States (mainly in the southern part of the country) currently allow corporal punishment in schools. The rules of each state differ regarding the types of paddles that can be used, how much the manager is allowed to hit the child, and whether “physical injury” to the student is allowed.

Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia are one of the states in which this practice is used, but individual school districts within these states may vote to ban the practice. There is.

This is the case with the Hendry County Board of Education, which has outlawed corporal punishment, even though the state of Florida allows corporal punishment.

Some Southern lawmakers are working to ban this practice. Louisiana State Legislature Stephanie Hilferty sponsored the bill this year. If the bill is passed, corporal punishment will be illegal in the state. According to Ms. Hilferty, 744 students were disciplined for that form of punishment in the last grade before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Similar measures have failed in recent years, with some opponents saying the issue should be left to individual school districts.

Louisiana and Tennessee have made some changes over the last five years to amend the law to ban school districts from using paddles and spanking to punish children with disabilities.

Still, it’s been ten years since the state-wide ban was actually passed. In 2011, New Mexico passed a law prohibiting corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure at school.

What is history?

In 1977, the United States Supreme Court found that the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, does not apply to school students, meaning that teachers can use corporal punishment without parental permission.

There is no federal ban on corporal punishment. According to the Department of Citizenship of the Ministry of Education, this practice is steadily declining over time, but in US public schools, 106,000 students in the 2013-2014 academic year (the latest year for which national data is available). These children have been physically punished.

And critics of corporal punishment quickly find that such discipline is not evenly distributed. Experts have found that black students, boys and students with disabilities are disproportionate to being subject to sanctioned violence at school.

Since 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a ban on schools.

And in 2018, the organization warned that parents should avoid all physical and verbal abuse of their children, saying that “there is minimal effect in the short term and ineffective in the long term.” I did.

“Corporal punishment has led to an increased risk of negative behavioral, cognitive, psychosocial and emotional consequences for children,” the academy said in a statement.

How about in other countries?

While this practice is steadily becoming less popular in the United States, 63 other countries allow corporal punishment in schools, according to a global partnership to end violence against children.

Australia, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have all joined the United States and allow corporal punishment in some or all schools.

Corporal punishment in state-owned schools has been outlawed in the United Kingdom since 1986. Private schools appeared a little later. 1998 was England and Wales, 2000 was Scotland, and 2003 was Northern Ireland.

The ban is widely accepted by two Scottish mothers (Grace Scanbell and Jane Kosands) who have won a groundbreaking proceeding in the European Court of Human Rights to suspend corporal punishment in Scottish schools.

A few years later, Canada followed. The country’s ban also followed a proceeding in 2004 by the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled that corporal punishment at school was an unjustified application of force to students.

However, in Canada and the United Kingdom, with the exception of Scotland, corporal punishment remains legal at home in certain circumstances.

According to a global partnership to end violence against children, about 62 countries have completely banned such forms of punishment for children, including at home. Sweden, Finland, Austria, Denmark and France are one of the countries that are totally banned.