While raising a child, every parent must decide what lengths they will take in discipline and what the consequences will be when their child breaks the rules. The same goes for a teacher when deciding how to deal with an unruly student.
Conflict arises when parent and teacher, or school district, have a different idea of what constitutes as acceptable punishment.
In the U.S there are currently 21 states where corporal punishment in schools is legal. In 13 states corporal punishment is common and often used, accounting for most southern states and some in the Midwest.
Mississippi has the highest percentage of students receiving corporal punishment at 7.5% and Texas has the highest number of students receiving corporal punishment at 48,197 students.
So what does this corporal punishment include? Spanking, paddling and “swatting”. Overall, more than 200,000 students received this physical punishment in U.S. schools during the last school year.
School officials claim that spanking a student is quick and effective and there is no need to hire someone to run an after school detention. But Alice Farmer from the Humans Rights Watch says that children may not know what they did wrong or understand their punishment.
Furthermore, human rights organizations claimed that this punishment is not equally administered. In the 2006-07 school year, black students made up 17.1% of the student population, but 35.6% of these students received paddling.
The ACLU has also said that students with mental or physical disabilities also receive more corporal punishment than other students.
So when does this punishment remain necessary for classroom control and when does it cross the line into unnecessary classroom violence? Many parents feel strongly against corporal punishment in schools, but don’t have that much control over it.
Leading students by fear may be an effective way to maintain order, but I don’t believe that it is the only way or the healthiest.
I am interested in hearing from parents on this topic: Are you for it or against it? And if you are against it, what do you recommend replacing corporal punishment with? Here is a video by Johnathan Harachick on why corporal punishment is bad for children.