Monday, August 29, 2016

Rural schools account for 51% of the enrollment in U.S. schools that use corporal punishment

Corporal punishment still exists in schools in 21 states, especially in rural areas, Sarah D. Sparks and Alex Harwin report for Education Week. Their investigation found that in the 2013-14 school year. corporal punishment was used on 109,000 students. Rural students "account for 51 percent of enrollment in schools where at least one student was physically punished in 2013-14," they report. Conversely, rural students made up only 17 percent of students in schools where corporal punishment is not allowed. (Education Week graphic: Schools where corporal punishment was reported in 2013-14)

Students eligible for school-meal programs because of their families' low incomes are more likely to attend schools that allow corporal punishment, Sparks and Harwin report. "Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Oklahoma physically disciplined the most students in 2013-14—though the practice continues to be the most widespread in Mississippi, where more than half of students attend schools that use paddling and other physical discipline. But students were physically punished even in a few states that prohibit the practice."

Black students are more likely to receive corporal punishment, the reporters write. "White students made up about 50 percent of all those who experienced corporal punishment—but they made up about 60 percent of the student population in their schools. Black students, by contrast, made up 22 percent of all students attending schools using corporal punishment, but 38 percent of those who received such discipline nationwide." (Chart: Schools with no reported cases of corporal punishment in 2013-14)

"Corporal punishment is often seen by proponents as a good alternative to suspending students," Sparks and Harwin write. "But in a field that requires specialized certification for all manner of programs and subjects, corporal punishment stands out for the virtual nonexistence of training or detailed procedures on how to paddle children of different sizes, ages, or psychological profiles. And in the absence of such training or guidance, the practice can leave students more vulnerable to injury and districts at greater risk of expensive lawsuits." (Read more)

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