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Education Secretary Recommends the End of Corporal Punishment


One of the oldest forms of school discipline may finally be on its way out of the education scene.

Corporal punishment, the paddling, spanking or hitting students for discipline reasons, is surprisingly still permitted in 22 states. Current Education Secretary John B. King Jr. is on a mission to permanently expel corporal punishment from schools.

“Our schools are bound by a sacred trust to safeguard the wellbeing, safety and extraordinary potential of the children and youth within the communities they serve,” King said in a press release. “No school can be considered safe or supportive if its students are fearful of being physically punished.”

Research has shown that physical discipline like spanking can have both short- and long-term negative effects. Children who are spanked often become aggressive and defiant in the short term and may develop depression or post-traumatic stress disorder over time.

Studies have shown that male students receive corporal punishment more often than female students and non-white students are disproportionately physically punished.

According to data from the Education Department’s Civil Rights Data Collection, black students make up 16 percent of the total public school population, but about 33 percent of those students were subjected to corporal punishment in the 2013-2014 school year.

“The use of corporal punishment can hinder the creation of a positive school climate,” King wrote. “Corporal punishment also teaches students that physical force is an acceptable means of solving problems, undermining efforts to promote nonviolent techniques for conflict resolution.”

Does your school allow corporal punishment?