August 20, 2008

A Violent Education

Corporal Punishment of Children in US Public Schools

I. Summary and Key Recommendations
Corporal Punishment in US Public Schools
A Violent and Degrading School Environment
Discrimination in the Classroom..
Lack of Recourse
Legality and Reform..
Key Recommendations
II. Methodology
III. Corporal Punishment in US Public Schools
The Mechanics of Corporal Punishment
The Paddles and the Position of the Child
Clothing as Protection against Blows
Number of Blows
Other Instruments Used
Other Physical Force Used against Students
Persons Administering Corporal Punishment
The Atmospherics of Corporal Punishment
Intimidation and Threats
Witnesses to Paddling
"The Devil's Bargain": Choosing to Be Beaten
Why Students Opt for Beatings
IV. Offenses Leading to Corporal Punishment
Disproportionate Responses to Minor Misbehavior
Vague Offenses and Arbitrary Use of Corporal Punishment
Corporal Punishment for Serious Offenses, including Violence
V. Prevalence of Corporal Punishment in US Public Schools
Data on Corporal Punishment
Constant and High Levels of Paddling in Some Schools
VI. Impact of Corporal Punishment
Lasting Injuries and Immediate Pain
Depression and Anger
Academic Disengagement and Drop Out
Links to Domestic Violence
VII. Best Practices in School Discipline
Positive Disciplinary Approaches
Educators' Views on Corporal Punishment
VIII. The Use of Corporal Punishment against Specific Groups
Boys Paddled More Than Girls
Race
Discriminatory Learning Environment
Particular Issues Raised by the Paddling of Girls
Case Study: Allison Guthrie
Special Education Students and Students with Disabilities
IX. Regulating Discipline in Schools
Regulations and Training on School Discipline
Educators Who Disagree are without Recourse
Case Study: Ralph McLaney
Parental Choice
Methods of Opting Out of Corporal Punishment
Parental Struggles to Opt Out
Parental Preferences against Corporal Punishment Ignored
X. Seeking Redress for Corporal Punishment
School District Response to Parental Complaints
Immunity for Perpetrators
Lack of Adequate Responses from Police or Courts
Parents' Inability to Protect Children
XI. Banning Corporal Punishment: International Human Rights Law and US Constitutional Standards102
International Human Rights Law.. 102
Freedom from Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment103
The Right to Freedom from Physical Violence104
The Inherent Dignity of the Child and the Right to Education105
Non-discrimination and Equality107
Parents' Rights108
The United States and International Human Rights Law.. 109
US Law Permitting Corporal Punishment113
Cruel and Unusual Punishment113
Due Process115
Trends to Abolish Corporal Punishment116
XII. Conclusion and Recommendations118
To Legislatures in States with Corporal Punishment119
To Governors and Departments of Education in States with Corporal Punishment120
To Police, District Attorneys, and State Courts121
To the President of the United States121
To the United States Congress121
To the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights122
To School Boards, Superintendents, Principals, and Teachers122
To Teachers' Colleges and Teacher Training Programs124
To Professional Bodies Working in Education124
To Private and Non-Profit Foundations that Fund US Public Education or Advocate for Improvements in Education   124
Acknowledgments126