Arguments Against Corporal Punishment
It perpetuates a cycle of child abuse. It teaches children to hit someone smaller and weaker when angry.
Injuries occur. Bruises are common. Broken bones are not unusual. Children's deaths have occurred in the U.S. due to school corporal punishment.
Corporal punishment is used much more often on poor children, minorities, children with disabilities, and boys.
Schools are the only institutions in America in which striking another person is legally sanctioned. It is not allowed in prisons, in the military or in mental hospitals.
Educators and school boards are sometimes sued when corporal punishment is used in their schools.
Schools that use corporal punishment often have poorer academic achievement, more vandalism, truancy, pupil violence and higher drop out rates.
Corporal punishment is often not used as a last resort. It is often the first resort for minor misbehaviors.
Many alternatives to corporal punishment have proven their worth. Alternatives teach children to be self-disciplined rather than cooperative only because of fear.
Alternatives to corporal punishment include emphasizing positive behaviors of students, realistic rules consistently enforced, instruction that reaches all students, conferences with students for planning acceptable behavior, parent/teacher conferences about student behavior, use of staff such as school psychologists and counselors, detentions, in-school suspension and Saturday school.
What Others Have To Say
"The same ones kept coming back for more. It wasn't working. Hitting children did not seem to improve their behavior. It seemed in fact to be reinforcing the very behaviors I was attempting to eliminate." - Sid Leonard, Retired Principal, Toledo, Ohio
"I believe that there is no longer any use for corporal punishment in schools and much to be gained by suppressing it." - B.F. Skinner
"In this era of reform, is it too much to expect educators to think of more civilized ways to correct students?" - Akron Beacon Journal, 8/28/87
"The fundamental need of American education is to find ways of engaging today's children in the thrill of learning. Fear of pain has no place in that process." - The Christian Science Monitor, 3/21/89
"...the use of corporal punishment in schools is intrinsically related to child maltreatment. It contributes to a climate of violence, it implies that society approves of the physical violation of children, it establishes an unhealthy norm...Its outright abolition throughout the nation must occur immediately." - U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect 9/15/91
As millions of children across the USA prepare to go back to school, teachers are laying down their weapons - the paddles they use to dole out corporal punishment. A teacher does best armed only with knowledge. Corporal punishment is a cruel and obsolete weapon. - USA Today 8/22/90
"There is nothing 'manly' about beating women. There is nothing 'adult' about hitting children. Whether sanctioned or capricious, all such violence really is cowardly activity. It betrays a person who needs to invade someone else's dignity to feel important. It can leave deep emotional scars and almost always begets further violence. Our culture needs to give priority attention to this problem. We need to isolate abusive behaviors wherever they exist and insist that people and institutions find alternative solutions. Failing at this, the lust for violence may do to us what no outside enemy has succeeded in doing. It may tear us apart at the seams." - Reverend Dr. Thomas E. Sagendorf, retired United Methodist Church minister, Hammond IN
"Good school discipline should be instilled through the mind, not the behind." - Robert E. Fathman, Ph.D. President, National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools