A video of a Florida school principal using a paddle to spank a 6-year-old student has sparked outrage online. In the graphic video, shot by the child's mother on her mobile phone last month, we see the student bent over a chair, crying, while she is paddled three times by principal Melissa Carter of Central Elementary School in Clewiston, Florida. Ms Carter is now under investigation by the Hendry County school board and the local sheriff's office. Corporal punishment - paddling, spanking, or other forms of physical punishment - is not permitted in Hendry County schools. But while physical discipline has been outlawed in US military training centres, juvenile detention facilities and as punishment for a crime, slapping or spanking a child remains legal in 19 states across the country. Nineteen US states - mostly in the country's south - currently allow corporal punishment in schools.
Is it rare for US teachers to spank unruly children at school?
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School corporal punishment is currently legal in 19 states, and over , children in these states are subject to corporal punishment in schools each year. Given that the use of school corporal punishment is heavily concentrated in Southern states, and that the federal government has not included corporal punishment in its recent initiatives about improving school discipline, public knowledge of this issue is limited. The aim of this policy report is to fill the gap in knowledge about school corporal punishment by describing the prevalence and geographic dispersion of corporal punishment in U. This policy report is the first-ever effort to describe the prevalence of and disparities in the use of school corporal punishment at the school and school-district levels. We end the report by summarizing sources of concern about school corporal punishment, reviewing state policies related to school corporal punishment, and discussing the future of school corporal punishment in state and federal policy. In , the U.
Where We Stand: Spanking
Corporal punishment , also referred to as "physical punishment" or "physical discipline,"  is defined as using physical force, no matter how light, to cause deliberate bodily pain or discomfort in response to some undesired behavior. The practice was held constitutional in the Supreme Court case Ingraham v. Wright , where the Court held that the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment did not apply to disciplinary corporal punishment in public schools, being restricted to the treatment of prisoners convicted of a crime. As of , a student is struck in a U.
The American Academy of Pediatrics AAP recommends healthy forms of discipline, such as positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, limit setting, redirecting, and setting future expectations. The AAP recommends that parents do not use spanking, hitting, slapping, threatening, insulting, humiliating, or shaming. Corporal punishment of children younger than 18 months of age increases the likelihood of physical injury. Repeated use of corporal punishment may lead to aggressive behavior and altercations between parent and child and may negatively affect the parent-child relationship.