According to an updated policy statement of the Council on School Health that was made public on Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics, spanking or hitting children in school, as well as corporal punishment, should be prohibited by law in all states.
The use of physical punishment has decreased over time, but as US Education Secretary Miguel A. Cardona noted in March before Colorado outlawed the practice, it is either officially permitted or not clearly prohibited in 23 states. Researchers have also concluded that there is probably an underreporting of corporal punishment in schools.
Nearly 70,000 pupils are struck by school staff at least once each year, despite the fact that 96% of public schools claim they no longer use corporal punishment, and the US South is where it is most commonly utilized.
According to the AAP, black and disabled children are typically subjected to corporal punishment. According to the statement, Black boys are twice as likely as White boys to be physically disciplined at school, while Black girls are three times more likely than White girls to be struck.
.This raises alarming questions about the differential treatment of students with disabilities, who are too frequently punished for behaviors resulting from their disability.
The opposition against spanking goes beyond the walls of schools.
The AAP encouraged parents to avoid punishing their kids with physical violence, threats, insults, humiliation, or public shame.
Alternatives to Corporal Punishment: Positive Discipline and Restorative Justice
According to a statement from Beers, effective types of discipline that can be used in place of corporal punishment include setting boundaries, redirecting behavior, and establishing expectations for the future.
The APP has previously advocated against corporal punishment; 23 years ago, the group issued its first policy statement on the subject. The revision, according to Allison, includes more recent scientific data on the negative effects of corporal punishment and the efficacy of a nonviolent strategy.
The US government funds positive behavior interventions and supports, or PBIS, which is an evidence-based school intervention. It offers instruction to instructors and schools on how to concentrate on positive behaviors, such as informing pupils of the standards in the classroom and applying reasonable punishments for any unruly behavior. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act only permits this method.
Restorative justice is a different approach that’s showing promise in schools. It involves having a conversation with the individual who has been harmed and taking responsibility for their actions.
Without contacting the authorities, the two parties discuss the damaging occurrence and cooperate to identify an acceptable form of restitution.
Instead of reacting to a child’s conduct, all of these strategies attempt to comprehend the underlying causes of the behavior. They are attempting to comprehend the structural factors that contribute to bad behavior, such as racism and poverty.