Spanking in Schools Still Legal in Nineteen States


Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. 

These are the remaining states where corporal punishment is still legal in schools. On April 7, New Mexico courageously removed itself from the list.

Despite empirical evidence that corporal punishment negatively impacts academic success and causes long-term psychological and social harm, there is no federal ban on the horizon and inmates in juvenile detention centers actually enjoy greater protections from physical punishment than students in public schools.

Perhaps most alarming is the fact that students of color and students with disabilities such as autism are disproportionately subjected to corporal punishment. Distressingly, a child with autism or Tourette’s syndrome is most often physically punished for exhibiting symptoms of their disorder. Abuse of children on the autism spectrum tends to include more other forms of abuse as well, like dragging, pinching, slapping and improper restraint. Obviously, the legal rights of these individuals are being systematically denied and their conditions are worsening instead of improving.

Corporal punishment pits parents against schools, as parents objecting to their child being paddled or otherwise harmed have no recourse but to withdraw them. Drop out rates have been demonstrated to spike among paddled populations, as has aggressive behavior in children with autism who have suffered physical harm in the school setting.

During Autism Awareness Month, let’s redouble our efforts to shed light on the dark truths of our educational system and compel those nineteen remaining states to join the 21st century.

10 Responses to Spanking in Schools Still Legal in Nineteen States

  1. Excellent. I hope all readers who reside in any of those 19 states will right away send an e-mail or make a call to their state representative of senator and ask them to introduce a bill to end school corporal punishment. It is just inconceivable that it can exist at all today. All the research condemns it, and not a single national medical or educational organization of any kind supports school corporal punishment. Autistic kids are indeed at special risk of being hit with boards. We need to end this archaic model of brutality now.

  2. Susan says:

    Thanks for your compelling comments. Corporal punishment certainly makes a mockery of IDEA laws. It’s incensing!

    Susan Moffitt

  3. Susan – Thank you for writing this article. As the Executive Director of the South Carolina Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools in, I have repeatedly mentioned that when these young children are paddled, school administrators cannot say without a doubt that they don’t have medical or emotional issues that are undiagnosed. I’m hopeful that very soon that children will have the same rights as adults – free to live and learn without violence.

    Maureen Young

  4. Susan says:

    Thank you for your important work.

    Susan Moffitt

  5. Julie Worley says:

    Paddling injuries to schoolchildren put school districts at risk of lawsuits, search “A Violent Education” and “School Is Not Supposed To Hurt” to get the facts.

    Several “School Paddling States” have “Teacher Immunity Laws” to protect school employees from criminal/civil action. Most “School Paddling States” Prohibit Corporal Punishment of Schoolchildren in their Capitol Cities, yet allow pain as punishment of children in rural/less populated, often low-income areas.

    Corporal Punishment of Schoolchildren is discriminatorily applied based on gender, race, disability and income. Some “School Paddling States” such as Tennessee and North Carolina do not require parental consent or notification for children to be physically punished at school. Some schools allow teachers/coaches/administrators to administer paddlings as a knee-jerk reaction to minor infractions such as not turning in homework or horsing around just outside class where classmates overhear the blows! My husband and I are unable to protect our 3 children, who we do not hit, from overhearing classmates being hit just outside class. Wooden paddles are displayed in class to frighten and intimidate students. Our local school board members IGNORED our written/verbal presentation to Demand they Prohibit Corporal/Physical Pain as Punishment of Children in our Schools in April 2008 during “National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month”. We received no response, no letter, no phone call!

    If paddlings were administered in public to any person or animal rather than within the walls of a taxpyer funded school, the paddle wielder, be they a police officer, lawmaker or U.S. Supreme Court Justice, would be arrested and imprisoned for criminal felony assault!

    Please add your voice to defend schoolchildren’s constitutional rights to be free from assault by those paid tax-dollars to be entrusted with the care and education of our nation’s most precious children, our future, at Unlimited Justice dot com, a Nationwide Campaign to End School Paddling.

  6. Susan says:

    Thanks for these vivid and terrifying details, and the word about Unlimited Justice.

    Susan Moffitt

  7. Joanna says:

    I do not know where the info comes from but I am in NC and spanking was taken out of schools when I was in second grade and I know have a 5th grader and it is NOT legal to spank in our states. Not that I would have an issue with it but its in all the school polices books

  8. Susan says:

    The first site I googled to double check this has NC listed amongst the nineteen states allowing spanking in the schools. I grew up in the South so I know how ingrained spanking is, but there’s great deal of evidence that it’s not a good idea. From my personal experience as I child, I chose not to use it on my own children as I found it to be an emotionally scarring experience

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/spanking-school-19-states-corporal-punishment-legal/story?id=15932135

  9. Exceptional post however , I was wanting to know if you
    could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful
    if you could elaborate a little bit more.

    Many thanks!

  10. Susan says:

    You are in the wrong place with that link of yours. The well being of disabled children is at stake. This is not a place to advertise products for spanking.

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