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What States Allow Schools To Use Corporal Punishment? Far Too Many

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It seems impossible in 2016 that any school would not only be allowed to use corporal punishment against children, but that any school administrator would choose to hurt a child as a form of discipline. It's not impossible, or even especially unusual. The reality is, 19 states allow schools to use corporal punishment in 2016, and that is 19 states too many.

According to the Center for Effective Discipline, the 19 states that still allow corporal punishment are largely concentrated in the South, Southwest, and the Midwest. These states allow teachers and school administrators a pretty loose definition of how they are able to dole out discipline. Another 31 states nationally have banned the practice of spanking students in schools, despite the 1977 Supreme Court ruling of Ingraham v. Wright, that found spanking in schools does not violate a child's rights. Some urban school districts like Houston, Memphis, and Atlanta still allow the practice of paddling as a form of discipline. Even in states that don't allow paddling, like Maryland, teachers have been found to spank or paddle children as a form of punishment. According to The Washington Post, Education Secretary John B. King Jr. recently sent a letter to governors and state school leaders calling for a a country-wide end of corporal punishment, calling the practice:

Despite the fact that 19 states continue to allow corporal punishment, a study released by the Brookings Institution found that only seven states accounted for more than 80 percent of all in-school corporal punishments: Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.

A separate study conducted by the Education Department’s Civil Rights Data Collection found that, of the 110,000 students who received corporal punishment within the 2013 to 2014 school year, more than one-third of them were black. Only 16 percent of the student population was black. Students who suffer from disabilities also received corporal punishment at a much higher rate.

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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 25: Dr. John King, listens to questions during his Senate confirmation hearing to become Education secretary, on Capitol Hill, February 25, 2016 in Washington, DC. If confirmed by the US Senate, Dr. King will replace outgoing Education Secretary Arne Duncan. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In a conference call with reporters, King noted the disparity between children's rights and the rights of adults.

Fatima Gross of the National Women's Law Center, who sat in on the conference call, agreed.

Let's be honest, the time to end corporal punishment was in the last century. For vulnerable, frightened children to still fear being hurt at school if they dare to misbehave is unconscionable.