Corporal punishment in US schools

 Doomed 1991 attempt in US congress to ban school corporal punishment at federal level.


Regulations from Los Angeles in 1981, and a copy of the corporal punishment report form to be filed by the school -- all splendidly bureaucratic!

The judge declared: "Those who seek to wreak mindless havoc on one ofthe vital tools of our age cannot expect lenient treatment."

Pile's punishment was more severe than other criminalswho have written and released malicious programs.


Part of the paddled boys' testimony in the landmark 1977 Supreme Court case which upheld school corporal punishment as constitutional. (For more on this case, see "External Links" below.)

Would have required the state to adopt rules governing corporal punishment in schools. Died in committee (2000).

History. Much research remains to be done on the history of corporal punishment in American education. Presumably the early settlers brought their own existing practices with them from Europe. Whipping with a switch is much mentioned in literature in, especially, the 19th century, often making use of branches or twigs collected right outside the schoolroom.

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For some parents and visitors, Dewey had turned theworld upside down; their scathing criticism – that in the morning at theLaboratory School, the students learned cooking, knitting, and weaving, whilein the afternoon at home they learned reading, writing, and arithmetic – was definitelyexaggerated but not totally off target.

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(I elaborate on this point later in this essay, in discussing the program.)For more technical details on Nimda, see theand the .

Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Although the first residential facilities were established in , the term usually refers to the custodial schools established after 1880. Originally conceived by churches and the as an attempt to both educate and convert Indigenous youth and to integrate them into Canadian society, residential schools disrupted lives and communities, causing long-term problems among Indigenous peoples. Since the last residential school closed in 1996, former students have pressed for recognition and restitution, resulting in the in 2007 and a formal public apology by in 2008. In total, an estimated 150,000 , , and children attended residential schools.

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College and university. It is surprising to discover that college students and university freshmen could at one time be paddled in some places. See for the spanking of students by campus police at Northwestern University in Chicago, and about punishments at the University of Missouri carried out by senior students with official approval, in a tradition and .


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Parker’s main assistant, principal of theconsolidated University Elementary School, consequently putting an end to the severecrisis the Deweys had caused by poor management and the hostile takeover of therival Parker school.

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In the past, some paddles had holes drilled in them, to reduce air resistance, as in this picture from a fictional film (right). This supposedly increases the effectiveness of the punishment, but is nowadays rare, and explicitly disallowed by some school district regulations, probably because of fears that it could increase the propensity for bruising.

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Private and charter schools. Private schools are less constrained than public ones in matters of punishment. Often, part of their appeal to parents is that they can boast much better-behaved pupils than public schools because they are freer to impose strict discipline. This can involve some private schools in frequent applications of CP -- especially, but not only, some Christian schools, who are able to invoke biblical justifications for it. Some boarding schools, too, have been noted for making extensive use of the paddle, particularly "historically black" ones or those with a military emphasis.

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Effects on the student. The effects of paddling can vary a lot, depending on how forcefully it is applied and also, to a degree, on the student's size, build and physical resilience. Paddled students tend to say that it hurts like crazy at the time, but that the pain often does not last very long. There may be yelps and tears and red faces, as attested by . But even a paddling of four or five hard swats will, if administered accurately, only leave the buttocks sore and red or, at worst, harmlessly bruised for several days; it does not cause injury or bleeding. A few school districts, such as South Iron and Winona, both in Missouri, spell out in their handbooks that the paddle may cause bruises and that this does not constitute abuse (contrary to what overprotective mothers sometimes claim).

Corporal Punishment Will Return To Marion County Elementary Schools WUSF News

As noted, some school districts, rather than allowing parents to "opt out", require them to explicitly "opt in" before the paddle can be used, but in most places the convention is still that a student may be spanked unless there is a parental opt-out notice already on file in the office.