You might want to look at corporal punishment of children in schools.
— Lucien Lombardo, New York
As a means of controlling classrooms or improving academic performance, corporal punishment has an uninspiring track record. Last year, a review of 69 studiespublished in the medical journal the Lancet found “physical punishment is ineffective in achieving parents’ goal of improving child behaviour and instead appears to have the opposite effect of increasing unwanted behaviours.”
The good news is that, in most of the country, fewer than 0.01 percent of public school students were paddled, slapped or otherwise physically punished in the 2017-2018 school year, the most recent for which we have data from the U.S. Education Department.
The bad news is that 10 states, mostly in the South, don’t seem to have gotten the memo.
Those 10 states accounted for a full 99 percent of incidents of corporal punishment reported to the Education Department. About 75 percent happened in just four Southern states: Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and Arkansas.
Mississippi is the nation’s corporal-punishment capital, and it’s not particularly close. About 4.2 percent of students there were physically punished, more than double the rate in Arkansas, which ranked second at 1.8 percent. That adds up to more than 20,000 Mississippi students being paddled in the 2017-2018 school year — nearly a third of all American public-school students who were physically punished that year.
In the 10 paddling states, Native American and Black boys are punished at the highest rates (more than double the average), while White boys and boys with disabilities also face relatively high rates of corporal punishment. Girls are physically punished at much lower rates, with Native Americans, Blacks and girls with disabilities bearing the brunt of such punishment in those states.
Statement of Commissioner Gail Heriot in the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Report: Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connection to School to Prison Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities
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