The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights says the number of students paddled has decreased in recent years, from 342,038 in 2000 to 217,814 in 2009-10, Chason writes. And five counties, three in Florida and two in North Carolina, have banned paddling for this school year.
"A 2008 Human Rights Watch report showed that although African-American students made up 17.1 percent of the student population nationwide, they made up 35.6 percent of those paddled," Chason writes. "The report also notes that children with disabilities in Texas made up 10.7 percent of the student population in the 2006-07 school year, but accounted for 18.4 percent of those paddled."
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) who has reintroduced a public-school paddling ban each year since 2010, told Chason, "Most people don't even know that corporal punishment is still going on in this country. It's not just harmful physically but also psychologically. There are so many other ways of handling discipline."
The states with the highest number of students being paddled are Mississippi, Texas and Alabama; a report by the Office of Civil Rights said more than 100,000 students were paddled in those states during the 2009-10 school year, Chason writes. George Holden, a psychology professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, "said those numbers are mostly coming from smaller, rural districts. He said the practice is banned in Texas's largest cities: Houston, San Antonio and Dallas." He calls paddling "counterproductive," saying it has negative long-term effects, making "students angry, less likely to communicate with teachers and less motivated to succeed."
But some rural school districts say paddling has had positive results, Chason writes. "In Coffee County, located in southeast Georgia, Superintendent Morris Leis said his school district allows paddling because it's an effective form of punishment." Leis told her, "We won't paddle a student if a parent doesn't want us to, but we don't get a lot of complaints." (Read more)