Corporal Punishment in U.S. Public Schools: Prevalent, Abusive, and Ineffective
by Nahal Zamani & Alice Farmer — September 28, 2009
Corporal punishment is abusive, ineffective, and violates international human rights law: it should be immediately abolished in the US. Corporal punishment violates children's right to freedom from cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, and contributes to a hostile school environment in which students struggle to learn and succeed. Corporal punishment is abusive for all children, but it has particularly severe effects for students with disabilities. Not only is it ineffective in teaching them appropriate behaviors, it can cause lasting mental and physical injury, and it can make students aggressive and unable to learn. For students with disabilities, corporal punishment can be followed directly by a decline in their medical conditions. These discriminatory, abusive, and ineffective practices should be abolished in US schools. There are better methods of providing effective school discipline, including positive behavioral support systems that enable educators to respond to children's individual needs.
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