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In July 2009, Ohio passed a ban on corporal punishment in its public schools, becoming the thirtieth state in the United States to do so. The trend toward abolition of corporal punishment in the United States and abroad is accelerating: 97 of the 100 largest school districts have now abolished corporal punishment in public schools, along with 107 countries worldwide. In 2008, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched a joint campaign to ban corporal punishment in US public schools, a punishment which is not only abusive but is also counterproductive as a disciplinary measure. In August 2008, we published the report A Violent Education: Corporal Punishment of Children in US Public Schools, which documents that many children who are physically punished by administrators and teachers are left injured, degraded, and disengaged from school.  During the 2009 state legislative session, we teamed up with the ACLU and the Center for Effective Discipline (CED) to conduct advocacy with state legislators. We sent Ohio state legislators the executive summary of A Violent Education, along with letters urging them to vote for a bill banning the use of corporal punishment. On July 9, the legislature passed a ban on corporal punishment as part of the state’s budget measures, and Governor Ted Strickland signed it into law on July 18. Human Rights Watch and the ACLU are now promoting a federal ban on the use of physical discipline against students with disabilities, who suffer disproportionately from corporal punishment in their schools.
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