Sample Letter to Federal Representative

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[date]

Honorable [name of your state representative or senator]
[U.S. House of Representatives, Washington DC 20515
or U.S. Senate, Washington DC 20510]


Dear [representative or senator name]:


Banning corporal punishment of children is a national trend in childcare settings, including foster care, day care, and institutions. Yet, in 19 states, school children can be hit by boards for misbehavior, a practice that has been outlawed in more than 110 countries.


In September, 2011, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) introduced the “Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act,” HR 3027, which would impose the ban on all public and private schools with students that receive federal services. The bill was not acted on by the Education and Labor Committee. Check with the Center for Effective Discipline on any recent attempt to pass a bill banning corporal punishment in Congress.

In the 2005-06 school year (last data available from the U.S. Department of Education), more than 223,000 students were paddled one or more times in our nation’s public schools.
Here are some of the problems with corporal punishment of school children:

  • It results in physical and psychological harm to children including bruises, broken bones, alienation to school and post-traumatic stress syndrome.
  • Children most often hit are poor children, boys, those with disabilities, and minorities (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights).
  • Litigation is frequently brought against school boards and educators by parents of school-injured children.
  • Violence is taught and passed on to future generations by showing that hitting is an appropriate and sanctioned way of dealing with interpersonal problems.

School corporal punishment does not prevent violence or increase academic achievement. Proponents of school corporal punishment usually insist that it is necessary in order to keep control and maintain a good learning environment. That is not true. Most states with corporal punishment have lower achievement and graduation rates than states that have banned it. More school shootings have taken place in states with school corporal punishment, and seven of ten states with the most paddling also have the highest incarceration rates.


A federal remedy exists. HR 3027 would have protected children by denying funds to educational programs where corporal punishment is permitted. Every federal education program imposes conditions on how schools can and cannot use federal money. This bill is consistent with that tradition. The federal government prohibits physical punishment to train animals under the Animal Welfare Act, the Horse Protection Act and other laws. Are not children deserving of this protection? Please let me know where you stand on this issue, and if you are willing to help.
Please let me know where you stand on this issue, and if you are willing to help.


Sincerely,
[your name, address, phone, email]

 

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