There are still twenty states which permit beating in their schools.
Advocates for the abolition of corporal punishment in our schools point to the lasting damage they feel such disciplinary behavior inflicts on impressionable young minds and bodies.
They feel very strongly that:
- Any form of corporal punishment is violent, humiliating, degrading and uncivilized.
- It creates sexual problems in adulthood.
- Schools should replace corporal punishment with strictly enforced disciplinary codes.
- Society must break the cycle of abuse by banning all forms of corporal punishment.
Advocates for the retention of corporal punishment claim it is an effective deterrent in the class room.
They feel very strongly that:
- To spare the rod is to spoil the child.
- Disciplinary codes are ineffective.
- Children must learn to accept limits and authority.
- Federal and state laws constitute an unnecessary interference in what they see as a local policy.
- Religion teaches that corporal punishment is acceptable and necessary.
Latest DevelopmentsIn the United States 2009 has not been a stellar year for those who want to see corporal punishment banned in our schools. Enacting state laws is simply not a priority in these harsh economic times. There are a few rays of hope including the following:
The State of Ohio is considering banning corporal punishment in schools. In North Carolina a bill requiring parents to sign a permission slip before administering corporal punishment is under consideration. (March 2009)
One important paper on corporal punishment has been published in 2009. Report on Physical Punishment in the United States is a peer-reviewed research report on the effects of corporal punishment in our schools. It was endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other leading child welfare organizations.
Another noteworthy paper is A Violent Education. This report, written by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, makes the point that corporal punishment violates international human rights standards. It also states that approximately 220,000 children are paddled each year in U.S. schools.
The list of national organizations which oppose corporal punishment in our schools continues to grow.
BackgroundCorporal punishment is not just a school issue involving students, but is a societal issue involving families and cultures. Using physical abuse to socialize children is a practice which has been around for centuries. But the reality is that child abuse is a felony in most of the United States.
While civil rights and individual freedoms are the foundation of American society, the contrast between what we practice in our class rooms and what we preach to the world grows even starker.
Few scientific studies draw the conclusion that corporal punishment in and of itself is bad. It is the means of corporal punishment - caning, beating, slapping, strapping and so on - which seem to draw the most attention.
It is very hard to argue with some of the horrifying photographs of students who have been beaten. How can any civilized society allow such atrocities to occur?