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    Did You Know? Teachers Can Legally Hit Kids in 19 US States

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    Every single school day in the United States, an estimated 838 students face corporal punishment from school staff, despite overwhelming studies indicating the practice is ineffective and can have long-term negative effects.

    “The school nurse, as an advocate for the health and well-being of students, must take the position that corporal punishment places students at risk for negative outcomes, including increased aggression, antisocial behavior, mental health problems and physical injury,” the National Association of School Nurses wrote in a statement.

    In 2015, in 19 states across the nation, it is perfectly legal for school administrators to assault children with a wooden board across their bottom.  Many would consider this child abuse, and it likely would be, if done by a parent at home.

    “Institutional corporal punishment of children should be considered a form of child abuse that is contrary to current knowledge of human behavior and sound educational practices,” the American Bar Association has stated.

    Yet, this practice is still being used. A lot.

    In Greenwood, Mississippi, for example, the handbook reads:

    “Corporal punishment for use in this district is defined as punishing or correcting a student by striking the student on the buttocks with a paddle.”

    Such punishment, it goes on, must be carried out by the principal or assistant principal and “shall not exceed five swats with a paddle.” The punishment does not constitute “assault, simple assault, aggravated assault, battery, negligence or child abuse,” according to the handbook. 

    A report by the Washington Post found that on average, a child is hit in a United States public school once every 30 seconds.

    This outdated means of discipline is practiced in diverse states across the nation, but appears to be most predominate in the south: the states engaging in the abuse most frequently are Mississippi (18.73% of total paddlings in the U.S.), Alabama (16.34%), Georgia (7.36%), and Texas (17.13%).

    The Post also pointed out that the top three paddling states also have the highest number of black students, and “[b]lacks constitute about 16% of public school students in the United States but 35% of those who receive corporal punishment.”


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    Public Schools, Students, Corporal Punishment, Association of School Nurses, American Bar Association
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