School Corporal Punishment Fact Sheet

(primary source: Center for Effective Discipline; Center for Effective Discipline)



The more spankings children experience, the greater the likelihood that they will engage in aggression and other anti-social behavior.


Study reported in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, August 1997 by Murray A. Straus, David B. Sugarman, and Jean Giles-Sims


Injuries occur.  Bruises are common.  Broken bones, nerve and muscle damage are not unusual.  An estimated 1% to 2% of all recipients of school corporal punishment require medical evaluation and treatment for injuries resulting from the punishment*.  Brain injury and even death has occurred in the U.S. due to school corporal punishment.  Educators and school boards are sometimes sued.


*”Corporal Punishment in the Schools”.  Transcript of the hearing before the Juvenile Justice Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate.  October 17, 1984


Corporal Punishment is used more often on poor children, minorities, children with disabilities and males.


U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights Elementary and Secondary School Civil Rights Compliance Report, Fall 1998


Only 22 of our states permit adults in the public schools to intentionally hit and hurt minor children.  Arkansas has failed to do anything to restrict the people who inflict this mistreatment in our schools.


The National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools (Discipline at School (NCACPS)) actively enlists organizations in the campaign: “Despite calls for its elimination is this country by such mainline national organizations as the American Medical and Bar Associations, the NAACP, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National PTA and even the country’s largest teacher union, the National Education Association, the custom hangs on, leading advocacy groups to call for federal legislation.” [Add: the American Nurses Association, the American Psychological Association, the Association of Junior Leagues International, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Mental Health Association, and the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse]


NCACPS also observes the trend outside our borders: “Corporal punishment in schools has now been banned by federal law in every country in Europe, Central and South America, China and Japan.  In the last two years three African countries have also prohibited the practice, throwing off one more vestige of colonial control.  About half the Canadian provinces have bans, as does all but one state in Australia.” 


“We can talk all we want to about ‘Safe Schools,’” says, Robert Fathman, President of the NCACPS and Co-Chair of EPOCH-USA, “but when we have teachers picking up boards and hitting more than 2,000 students every day of the school year, what kind of lesson are we teaching children about how to deal with their anger?  We don’t allow people to treat their animals this way, or prisoners, or military recruits -- shouldn’t we afford children at least the same level of protection that we give our dogs?” 

July 2000 - The Center for Effective Discipline, EPOCH-Worldwide, London England


The ten worst paddling states (highest to lowest) according to the most recent survey by the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights are: Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Missouri, and New Mexico.


U.S. Department of Education, OCR Report, 1998


Schools are the only institutions in America in which striking another person is legally sanctioned.  The use of physical force with the intention of causing pain but not injury, for the purpose of correction or control of behavior is illegal in every state of the U. S., except when the target is a child. 


Schools that use corporal punishment often have poorer academic achievement, more vandalism, truancy, pupil violence and higher drop out rates.


Called a method of last resort, corporal punishment if often used first …and for minor misbehaviors.


Having proven their worth, the many alternatives to CP teach children to be self-disciplined rather than cooperative only because of fear.


Arkansas children should expect to be able to go to a public facility without their parents and not fear that an adult (probably two) may take them alone to a private place where they may be forced to submit to a beating with a board, despite any sort of protest.  That is everyone’s expectation and everyone’s right, unless chronological age is less than eighteen.


Corporal Punishment perpetuates a cycle of child abuse.  It teaches children to hit someone smaller and weaker when angry.


More progress toward preventing physical abuse can be made if more organizations concerned with reducing physical abuse stop ignoring corporal punishment.  SpankOut Day” is designed to give it attention.


Randy Cox


"The No Spanking Page":

"Corporal Punishment in Arkansas Public Schools":