In a letter sent to the top education officials of every state, outgoing Secretary of Education John King urged every jurisdiction that hasn't already banned corporal punishment to prohibit it permanently.
Education Secretary John King, the former education commissioner of NY, recently wrote a letter to state education chiefs across the country, urging them to dispense with physical force as a method of discipline.
"Corporal punishment ... teaches students that physical force is an acceptable means of solving problems, undermining efforts to promote nonviolent techniques for conflict resolution", King wrote.
More than 110,000 students nationwide were subjected to corporal punishment in the 2013-14 school year, according to the department's data, which is self-reported by school districts and collected biannually. Of those students, King wrote in his letter, more than a third are black despite that group making up just 16 percent of the public school population.
While 28 states and the District of Columbia have banned corporal punishment in their schools, it remains entrenched in southern states.
22 states allow corporal punishment: whether it be paddling, spanking or hitting students.
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North Carolina and SC are two of 22 states that still allow corporal punishment, whether it be paddling, spanking or hitting the students.
Corporal punishment is harmful, ineffective and disproportionately applied to boys, children of color and kids with disabilities. He also points out that some corporal punishment taking place in schools would be considered criminal assault or battery in real-world settings. "Based on the 2013-2014 CRDC, boys represented about 80 percent of all students experiencing corporal punishment.11 Similarly, in almost all of the states where the practice is permitted, students with disabilities were subjected to corporal punishment at higher rates than students without disabilities". In Minneapolis, for instance, a superintendent required her permission to suspend a black, Hispanic, or American Indian student (but not a white one).
King argued that there is no good reason for using corporal punishment given the information educators have available to them today.
The nation's education chief said this type of punishment is used on students of color and with disabilities more often than other students.
Black girls are 2.9 times as likely as white girls to be corporally punished in schools. Children who experience physical punishment are more likely to develop mental health issues, a study in the American Academy of Pediatrics found, and it has been associated with antisocial behavior.