A Violent Education: Corporal Punishment of Children in US Public Schools

A Violent Education

Corporal Punishment of Children in US Public Schools

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I. Summary and Key Recommendations

Corporal Punishment in US Public Schools

Key Recommendations

II. Methodology

III. Corporal Punishment in US Public Schools

The Mechanics of Corporal Punishment

The Atmospherics of Corporal Punishment

“The Devil’s Bargain”: Choosing to Be Beaten

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


Particular Issues Raised by the Paddling of Girls

Special Education Students and Students with Disabilities

IX. Regulating Discipline in Schools

Regulations and Training on School Discipline

Educators Who Disagree are without Recourse

Parental Choice

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 Standards

International Human Rights Law

US Law Permitting Corporal Punishment

Trends to Abolish Corporal Punishment

XII. Conclusion and Recommendations

To Legislatures in States with Corporal Punishment

To Governors and Departments of Education in States with Corporal Punishment

To Police, District Attorneys, and State Courts

To the President of the United States

To the United States Congress

To the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights

To School Boards, Superintendents, Principals, and Teachers

To Teachers’ Colleges and Teacher Training Programs

To Professional Bodies Working in Education

To Private and Non-Profit Foundations that Fund US Public Education or Advocate for Improvements in Education



August 2008   ISBN: 1-56432-369-2