Facts vs. Opinion: School Corporal Punishment
The relationship of school corporal punishment to shooting deaths in schools, violence against teachers, school graduation rates and ACT scores, and adult incarceration
- "If we still had paddling, kids wouldn’t be shooting one another in schools."
- "Since paddling was taken out of schools, kids have gotten more violent and aggressive toward teachers."
- "Since paddling was taken out of schools, kids have gotten lazy and are falling behind in academics."
- "If kids were paddled more they wouldn’t end up in jail as adults."
The following Center for Effective Discipline studies suggest that the above statements cannot be supported.
• Paddling and School Shootings
• Paddling and Violence Against Teachers
• Paddling and Graduation and ACT scores
• Paddling and Adult Incarceration
Paddling and School Shootings
Paddling proponents say: "If we still had paddling, kids wouldn’t be shooting one another in schools."
Fact: Studies show significantly more fatal school shootings took place in states that allow corporal punishment in schools.
Information contained in Figure 1 was taken from The National School Safety Center’s Report on School Associated Violent Deaths (1992-2007). This report defines a school-associated violent death as any homicide, suicide, or weapons-related violent death in the United States in which a fatal injury occurred. For this chart, the number of shooting deaths occurring on school property and where the assailant was a student was tabulated. The incidents were then categorized into those which occurred in states where school paddling is permitted and those where it is not permitted. Student shootings were more likely to occur in states where school corporal punishment is permitted.
A study by Doreen Arcus (2002) found that there were significantly more fatal school shootings in states that permit corporal punishment in schools than those that don’t.
Arcus, Doreen (2002). School Shooting Fatalities and School Corporal Punishment: A look at the states. Aggressive Behavior, 28, pp. 173-183.
National School Safety Center. (2007). School Associated Violent Deaths. Westlake Village, CA: Dr. Ronald D. Stephens.
Compiled by: Center for Effective Discipline
Paddling and Violence Against Teachers
Paddling Proponents Say: "Since paddling was taken out of schools, kids have gotten more violent and aggressive toward teachers."
Facts: Paddling is declining (Fig. 2). Violence against teachers is declining in U.S. public schools (Fig. 3). The decline of paddling in U.S. public schools is correlated with a decline in violence against teachers.
Data from Figure 2 on the number for students paddled can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. During the years from 1994-2004, paddling numbers decreased from 470,683 students to 272,028 students.
Data from Figure 3 on school violence can be found in Tables 5.3 and 5.4 of the "Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2006" published by the National Center for Educational Statistics. These tables show the percentage and raw numbers of public school teachers who reported they were threatened with injury or physically attacked by a student from school during the previous 12 months. Data for the entire United States, as well as for each individual state and the District of Columbia, are shown for the 1993-94, 1999-2000, and 2003-04 school years. This graph depicts the United States percentages of teachers who experienced threats or physical injuries by students. It shows a decrease in violence against teachers over this ten year period.
• Threats against teachers in U.S. public schools show a decrease of 41.4 percent between 1994 and 2004.
• Physical attacks against teachers in U.S. public schools show a decrease of 16 percent between 1994 and 2004.
• Paddling decreased in U.S. public schools by more than 42 percent between l994 and 2004.
Dinkes, R., Cataldi, E.F., Kena, G., and Baum, K. (2006). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2006 (NCES 2007–003/NCJ 214262). U.S. Departments of Education and Justice. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, Elementary and Secondary Schools Surveys: l976 through 2004. U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington DC 20202-1100
Compiled by: Center for Effective Discipline
Paddling and ACT Scores and Graduation Rates
Paddling Proponents Say: "Since paddling was taken out of schools, kids have gotten lazy and are falling behind in academics."
Fact: Non-paddling states have higher ACT scores and higher graduation rates.
Figure 4: Each state’s average ACT composite score was compared to the national average (20.9) and determined whether it was above or below the national mean. At the time of these test results, there were 22 states that allowed corporal punishment (Pennsylvania has since changed its position on allowing corporal punishment in schools). Based on whether the state was a paddling state or a non-paddling state, percentages were calculated to determine what percentage of each were above or below the national test score average. It was found that 36% of paddling states had a state composite score average above the national mean; 89% of non-paddling states, however, scored above the mean. Likewise, 64% of paddling states scored below the national average, while only 11% of non-paddling states fell into that category.
Data contained in this graph can be found online at www.act.org.
Figure 5: Among the paddling states, 57%, 12 states, had graduation rates below the national average, with only 43% keeping students in school to the end of 12th grade. Among non-paddling states, two-thirds, 66%, had better than average graduation rates.
All information shown in these graphs can be found through the National Center for Education Statistics at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard .
Compiled by: Center for Effective Discipline, Columbus, OH 8/07
Paddling and Adult Incarceration
Paddling Proponents Say: "If kids were paddled more, they wouldn’t end up in jail as adults."
Fact: School corporal punishment is associated with higher incarceration rates of the adult population. Eight of the top ten paddling states are in the top ten states with the highest incarceration rates.
|Top 10 Highest Incarceration
Rates by State (12/31/06)
|Rank ||State ||Incarceration Rates
(per 100k people)
|The 10 worst states, by percentage of students struck
by educators in the 2006-2007 school year:
|Rank ||State ||Percentage
(states in bold are on both lists)
Figure 6: Incarceration rates for each state were found in the Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin - Prisoners in 2006. This information can be obtained from Appendix Table 6 at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/p06.pdf. Using their rates, states were ranked from highest to lowest and the top ten was determined.
Data Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics
Figure 7: The percentage of student struck for each state was found using information from the Office of Civil Rights 2006 National and State Projections. The OCR data shows both the number of students on which corporal punishment was used, as well as the total number of students enrolled in schools within the state. The percentages were calculated and the top ten states were ordered highest to lowest.
Eight of the top ten paddling states are in the top ten states with the highest incarceration states.
The above data and more can be found at the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights website on this page:
Compiled by Center for Effective Discipline
Columbus, OH 05-2008 For questions about these studies, contact Nadine Block, Executive Director of the Center for Effective Discipline, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the Center for Effective Discipline
The Center for Effective Discipline is a non-profit organization which provides information about the effects of corporal punishment and alternatives to its use. The Center has no paid staff. Activities and financial information are available on the website www.stophitting.org
It is headquarters for the National Coalition to Abolish Corporal punishment in Schools (NCACPS) and End Physical Punishment of Children (EPOCH-USA).
Center for Effective Discipline, Updated August 2008
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