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Corporal Punishment in Public Schools laws - Information on the law about Corporal Punishment in Public Schools

reasonable force physical allowed

In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Ingraham v. Wright, that schools may use corporal punishment despite parental objection. Prior to that ruling, there were few, if any, state statutes regulating the use of physical means of discipline in schools. After the decision, states began to address the issue. At present, twenty-five states have statutes covering corporal punishment.

The following chart covers only state statutes regarding corporal punishment. It should be noted that there are also local rules that authorize the use of corporal punishment or that require parental consent before corporal punishment can be imposed upon a child. Local school districts, and even individual schools, often have their own policies and procedures for handling disciplinary problems.

This issue has become very controversial lately. With heightened public awareness of child abuse and increased sensitivity to the emotional well-being of children, many schools and teachers are loath to impose any physical discipline whatsoever upon students for fear of emotionally scarring them or being accused of child abuse themselves.

Table 15: Corporal Punishment in Public Schools

State Code Section Punishment Allowed Circumstances Allowable
ALABAMA 16-1-24.1 Local school boards to adopt code for conduct and discipline of students.  
ALASKA 11.81.430   When use of force is consistent with the welfare of the students and if authorized by school regulations adopted by the school board
ARIZONA 15-843 Procedures for disciplining pupils, including the use of corporal punishment, are decided and allowed by governing board; use of corporal punishment is to be consistent with state board of education guidelines.  
ARKANSAS 6-18-505 Use of corporal punishment only in specifically authorized school district and administered in accord with district's written student discipline policy. "In order to maintain discipline and order within public schools."
CALIFORNIA Educ. §§49000, 49001 Corporal punishment prohibited.  
COLORADO No statutory provisions    
CONNECTICUT No statutory provisions    
DELAWARE Tit. 14, §701 Teachers may exercise same authority as parents, including the administration of corporal punishment where deemed necessary in accordance with district board of education policy.  
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA No statutory provisions    
FLORIDA 1003.32 Corporal punishment allowed, subject to prescribed procedures. Must have approval in principle by the principal before it is used; presence of another informed adult; and that an explanation is provided to parents.
GEORGIA 20-2-730, et seq. Corporal punishment allowed, subject to various restrictions. It may not be excessive or unduly severe or be used as a first line of punishment; it must be administered in the presence of a school official; a written explanation must be provided on request; and it may not be administered if a physician certifies that the child's mental or emotional stability could be affected.

Table 15: Corporal Punishment in Public Schools—Continued

State Code Section Punishment Allowed Circumstances Allowable
HAWAII 302A-1141 Physical punishment may not be used, but a teacher may use reasonable force to restrain a student in attendance from hurting himself or any other person or property with other teacher present and out of other students' presence.  
IDAHO No statutory provisions    
ILLINOIS No statutory provisions    
INDIANA 20-8.1-5.1-3 Teachers can take disciplinary action necessary to promote orderly student conduct.  
IOWA 280.21 Infliction of corporal punishment not allowed. Physical contact not considered corporal punishment if "reasonable and necessary under the circumstances."  
KANSAS No statutory provisions    
KENTUCKY 161.180 Hold pupils to a "strict account for their conduct on school premises."  
LOUISIANA 17:223, 17:416.1 Each city school board shall have discretion in the use of corporal punishment; corporal punishment allowed in a reasonable manner; corporal punishment discretionary, but rules to implement and control any form of corporal punishment to be adopted by each city school board or parish. "Good cause."
MAINE No statutory provisions    
MARYLAND Educ. 7-306 Corporal punishment may not be administered to discipline student. Disciplinary measures deemed appropriate to maintain "atmosphere of order" may be permitted by county school boards
MASSACHUSETTS Ch. 71 §37G Prohibits corporal punishment, but any member of school committee, teacher, or agent of school may use reasonable force to protect themselves, pupils, or other persons from an assault by a pupil.  
MICHIGAN 380.1312 Corporal punishment or threats of corporal punishment not to be inflicted "under any circumstances"; reasonable physical force may be used in self-defense or in defense of others, to obtain possession of weapon or other dangerous object or to protect property or to restrain or to remove noncomplying child from interfering with order of school.  
MINNESOTA 121A.58 Corporal punishment prohibited.  
MISSISSIPPI 37-11-57 Corporal punishment does not constitute abuse if reasonable manner. Reasonable physical force as necessary to maintain order.

Table 15: Corporal Punishment in Public Schools—Continued

State Code Section Punishment Allowed Circumstances Allowable
MISSOURI 160.261 "Spanking" approved and not considered child abuse when administered in reasonable manner and in accordance with written policy of discipline approved by board; where unreasonableness is alleged, initial investigation to be by school and not division of family services.  
MONTANA 20-4-302 No school district employee may inflict corporal punishment on a pupil. Physical pain resulting from a physical restraint which is reasonable and necessary is not corporal punishment (to quell a disturbance, provide self-protection, protect others from physical injury, obtain possession of a weapon, protect property from serious harm, maintain orderly conduct.)
NEBRASKA 79.295 Corporal punishment prohibited.  
NEVADA 392.4633 Corporal punishment prohibited. Reasonable and necessary force for: quell disturbance; obtain possession of weapon; self-defense; to escort disruptive student.
NEW HAMPSHIRE 627.6 (II)   Teachers justified in using necessary force to maintain discipline.
NEW JERSEY 18A:6-1 Corporal punishment prohibited. Reasonable force may be used to quell a disturbance, obtain possession of weapons, etc., for self-defense or for protection of person or property and not considered corporal punishment.
NEW MEXICO 22-5-4.3 Each school district creates rules of conduct which may include corporal punishment.  
NEW YORK No statutory provisions    
NORTH CAROLINA 115C-288; 115C-390, 391 Principals, teachers, and others may use reasonable force in the exercise of lawful authority to restrain or correct pupils and maintain order; local boards may not prohibit use of such force but are to adopt policies governing administration of corporal punishment, including at a minimum: notice to students and parents; teacher and no other students present.  

Table 15: Corporal Punishment in Public Schools—Continued

State Code Section Punishment Allowed Circumstances Allowable
NORTH DAKOTA 12.1-05-05 Use of force in disciplining students permitted provided it does not create substantial risk of death, serious bodily injury, disfigurement, or gross degradation.  
OHIO 3319.41 Corporal punishment prohibited. Board may not prohibit use of reasonable force to quell a disturbance, threatening physical injury; gain possession of weapon; or protect property.
OKLAHOMA Tit. 70 §24-100.4 Boards to adopt policy for the control and discipline of students.  
OREGON 339.250 Infliction of corporal punishment is not authorized.  
PENNSYLVANIA No statutory provisions    
RHODE ISLAND No statutory provisions    
SOUTH CAROLINA 59-63-260 Boards may provide corporal punishment for any pupil that it deems just and proper.  
SOUTH DAKOTA 13-32-2 Use of physical force that is reasonable and necessary for supervisory control over students.  
TENNESSEE 49-6-4103; 4104 Corporal punishment allowed if imposed in reasonable manner; local board of education shall adopt rules and regulations to implement and control corporal punishment in its schools. "Good cause"; in order to maintain discipline and order.
TEXAS No statutory provisions    
UTAH 53A-11-802 Corporal punishment prohibited. Use of reasonable and necessary physical restraint or force for self-defense or other appropriate circumstances listed in statute.
VERMONT Tit. 16, §1161a Corporal punishment prohibited, but reasonable and necessary force may be used to quell a disturbance, obtain possession of weapon, in self-defense, or protection of persons or property.  
VIRGINIA 22.1-279.1 Corporal punishment prohibited, but "incidental, minor or reasonable physical contact or other actions" permitted to maintain order and control; reasonable and necessary force permitted to quell a disturbance or remove a child to prevent harm, in self-defense, to obtain possession of weapon, etc.  
WASHINGTON 28A-150-300 Use of corporal punishment is prohibited.  
WEST VIRGINIA 18A-5-1 Corporal punishment is prohibited.  

Table 15: Corporal Punishment in Public Schools—Continued

State Code Section Punishment Allowed Circumstances Allowable
WISCONSIN 118.31 Corporal punishment generally prohibited; reasonable and necessary force allowed in self-defense, to protect others, etc., and as proscribed by school board policy.  
WYOMING 21-4-308 Boards may adopt rules for reasonable forms of punishment and disciplinary measures that teachers are authorized to impose.  
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over 6 years ago

it doesnt matter if the kids are black or white. what matters is that corporal punishment should not be allowed in our school system. We send our kids to school to learn. Not be afraid that they may or may not receive a "paddling". There are kids sitting right there in the same classroom as your kids, who are being abused, neglected every day of their lives. and to go to school, the one place that they probably enjoy being, and to get a paddling there ... it just blows my mind. Corporal punishment in schools should be abolished. There are other means for discipline and physical violence is not one of them. AS long as i live in a school district that is pro corporal punishment, my children will be home schooled.

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4 months ago

no1 derseve 2b hitted badly we ol have rights bt children nid to respect responsibilities too..

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4 months ago

no1 derseve 2b hitted badly we ol have rights bt children nid to respect responsibilities too..

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almost 3 years ago

We, the undersigned, want to end the practice of corporal punishment in America's schools.

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over 3 years ago

good people, i am a student teacher in edgewood campus. am going to be a future teacher. i dont believe on corporal punishment. learners should not be punished at schools totally. other teachers do it unfarerly according to the attitudes they have about learners. sometimes you only find that a teacher dislike/hate that particular child and use purnishment as if he/she is discipling you. so teachers dont use corporal punishment to the learners!!!!!!

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over 3 years ago

good people, i am a student teacher in edgewood campus. am going to be a future teacher. i dont believe on corporal punishment. learners should not be punished at schools totally. other teachers do it unfarerly according to the attitudes they have about learners. sometimes you only find that a teacher dislike/hate that particular child and use purnishment as if he/she is discipling you. so teachers dont use corporal punishment to the learners!!!!!!

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over 3 years ago

Kick some a$$!!!!! ;D

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over 3 years ago

As a teacher.... I agree with certain points listed, but please give us something that protects both us and disciplines the students. I am female, short of stature and small of size and work in the high school. I would never hit a student (i would loose my job) but it would be nice to have some way to threaten or discipline. Some students are totally out of control, no matter what a parent has done at home.

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over 7 years ago

In response to the previous comment. Black children seem to have more discipline than the white kids. How many Black children do you see calling their parents names like these "time out" white children do. Why do people have to be so racist and always sound stupid because their facts are screwed up. Corporal punishment is not a race issue, it's a personal issue. Some can spank their children without crossing the line of abuse, others can't.

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over 3 years ago

i am a student teacher in edgewood and as future teacher i do believe in punishment to return respect in learners

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over 3 years ago

good people, i am a student teacher in edgewood campus. am going to be a future teacher. i dont believe on corporal punishment. learners should not be punished at schools totally. other teachers do it unfarerly according to the attitudes they have about learners. sometimes you only find that a teacher dislike/hate that particular child and use purnishment as if he/she is discipling you. so teachers dont use corporal punishment to the learners!!!!!!

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over 4 years ago

5/2010. In reading the previous comments, I've come to agree that corporal punishment should still be in existence. Yes our kids go to school to learn and should not fear a paddling. But kids are killing kids in school. So we stopped the paddling, and now the kids are bringing guns and knives to protect themselves because the teachers and principals can't do anything but call their parents, if they have the right number.My grandparents grew up as fine citizens, my parents grew us as fine citizens and they all received paddling in school. If the kids of today knew that the principal could spank them, I'm sure their behavior would change. Because it's no longer waiting till you got home, it would be you get one and when you get home, you might get another one. However, some have taken corporal punishment and turned it into abuse. Those are case by case situations and should have been handled that way. Let families go back to raising their families and let the government stick with fixing the economy and stay out of our homes.

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over 4 years ago

I am in my first year of college and I am writing a paper on Corporal Punishment in schools. I went into this unbiast and I have come to the conclusion that corporal punishment has its pros and cons. I read about several cases where the punishment was taken too far and as a result the child or children needed medical care. It is my belife that it is a parents job to decide how their child is punished. And as for the previous comments...why is it that everthing has to go back to race. White and black kids these days are disprespectful to their parents and superiors. There is no proof that corporal punishment is even effective so why keep it in the schools systems!

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about 7 years ago

As students, we believe in "if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger". I know for a fact that there isnt gonna be a student getting corporal punishment to the point of death. Therefore, the attitude continues. I suggest other effective methods instead of corporal punishment. [In response to the first comment, allowing it won't affect ONLY black children; and MOST white children's attitudes are worse than those of black children. I speak from experience.]

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over 3 years ago

Okay, listen up. I don't believe in this corporal punishment panazz. This is non-since, students do not deserve punishment in schoools!!!!!!!! BULL CRAP!

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over 7 years ago

They should allow it because most black children need it beacause there isn't alot of the punishment at home as they do so thats good that they have corporal punishments in school

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4 months ago

no1 derseve 2b hitted badly we ol have rights bt children nid to respect responsibilities too..

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over 3 years ago

i am a student teacher in edgewood and as future teacher i do believe in punishment to return respect in learners

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over 3 years ago

we must spank these little brats because they dont listen!!!!

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almost 4 years ago

hey yo diz is dumb

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over 4 years ago

I am student in high school, as a child when I did somthing that was wrong I was told not to. When it escalated and I continued I was usually spanked and sent to my room and I learned from my mistakes. I see kids now with no manners, cocky, have no respect ect. and O know that they have parents who say "don't do that" and leave it at that. Abuse is one thing but this is a whole different subject when its just a form of discipline.

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4 months ago

no1 derseve 2b hitted badly we ol have rights bt children nid to respect responsibilities too..

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4 months ago

no1 derseve 2b hitted badly we ol have rights bt children nid to respect responsibilities too..

Vote down Vote up

4 months ago

no1 derseve 2b hitted badly we ol have rights bt children nid to respect responsibilities too..

Vote down Vote up

4 months ago

no1 derseve 2b hitted badly we ol have rights bt children nid to respect responsibilities too..

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almost 3 years ago

i might believe in it a little cause some students need that punishment but some teachers have a tendancy to abuse authority which is rare but it happens so its kinda hard to say but i know some schools would be better off if they had corporal punishment like half the schools sin new york but then again it might start a war students againts teacher

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almost 3 years ago

corporal punishment have it benefit and also it's bad side. For me i think the parents should be the one to decide if it should be used or not. well for now check out this replica orologi
for the best watches this Christmas period

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almost 3 years ago

corporal punishment have it benefit and also it's bad side. For me i think the parents should be the one to decide if it should be used or not. well for now check out this replica orologi
for the best watches this Christmas period

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over 3 years ago

good people, i am a student teacher in edgewood campus. am going to be a future teacher. i dont believe on corporal punishment. learners should not be punished at schools totally. other teachers do it unfarerly according to the attitudes they have about learners. sometimes you only find that a teacher dislike/hate that particular child and use purnishment as if he/she is discipling you. so teachers dont use corporal punishment to the learners!!!!!!

Vote down Vote up

over 3 years ago

good people, i am a student teacher in edgewood campus. am going to be a future teacher. i dont believe on corporal punishment. learners should not be punished at schools totally. other teachers do it unfarerly according to the attitudes they have about learners. sometimes you only find that a teacher dislike/hate that particular child and use purnishment as if he/she is discipling you. so teachers dont use corporal punishment to the learners!!!!!!

Vote down Vote up

over 3 years ago

good people, i am a student teacher in edgewood campus. am going to be a future teacher. i dont believe on corporal punishment. learners should not be punished at schools totally. other teachers do it unfarerly according to the attitudes they have about learners. sometimes you only find that a teacher dislike/hate that particular child and use purnishment as if he/she is discipling you. so teachers dont use corporal punishment to the learners!!!!!!

Vote down Vote up

over 3 years ago

good people, i am a student teacher in edgewood campus. am going to be a future teacher. i dont believe on corporal punishment. learners should not be punished at schools totally. other teachers do it unfarerly according to the attitudes they have about learners. sometimes you only find that a teacher dislike/hate that particular child and use purnishment as if he/she is discipling you. so teachers dont use corporal punishment to the learners!!!!!!

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over 3 years ago

read this

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over 3 years ago

As a student in the 4th grade;my teacher Mrs.Thomas kept me after school one day in December.I was soundly talk too,later I was given an open hand spanking but only after Mrs.Thomas conferred with my mom
about my behavior on the telephone.Mrs.Thomas did spank my bare bottom not unlike how my mom would spank me.Plus another female teacher Mrs.Gina was present during my spanking.

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over 3 years ago

As a student i think paddling is necessary because some kids need that a## tore because their parents dont whoop them enough and when they actually need a "paddiling" the principles there to give it to them. Now getting whooped for not having homework is ridiculous!! It should only be used when the student has done something harshly wrong and it also doesn't matter what color they are! If they need there a## whooped then by all meens do it! The bible says "Spare the rod spoil the child." If the kids out of line I will use the rod to beat the child!!!

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almost 4 years ago

i do not and will not ever agree with corporal punishment in any school. all i think needs to be done is having parents called and letting them deal with their own kids the way they feel fit. it isn't anybody else's place to punish the child unless they are of some sort of relation.

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almost 4 years ago

take out f every state....gosh!!!

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about 4 years ago

my 12 year old nephew received a paddling in school today. i went to his house after he called and he has bruises covering his whole buttock and half way down the back of his thigh... this was his punishment for not turning in a homework assignment...

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over 4 years ago

I got a few spankings when I was a kid, and I was even paddled once in grade school. I am thankful to God for my upbringing. All through school we had male principles - which scared some of the the kids. The elementary school principle who paddled me only gave me one lick, citing that I'd never been in trouble before. Some others got only one lick too, while one kid got his butt worn out. I am a firm believer in spanking. As for the school's spanking my son, I would want to meet his teachers before allowing that - just as a precaution. My son's mother does not like spanking. I don't know what makes people go so wrong in life. My son's mother left me without cause several years ago, despite that she claims to be a Christian, and despite that says she prayed on her knees to God that she will raise our son to be a Godly person. His mother's liberal attitude is exemplified in the fact that she does not know how to dicipline my him. She also seems to want to keep me in fear that she'll make me trouble if I spank my son. She came to the U.S. illegally, but she lives fairly lawfully - today. While she doesn't drink, smoke nor do drugs, she does lack some of the better diciplines. It is more like that she strains at gnats and swallows the camels sometimes. She never goes to church. She was raised a privelaged brat, and she raises my son the same way that her mother helped to nanny the U.S. ambassador's kids while they were all still in Peru. I, however, want my son to be better than any politician's spoiled kids, especially better than some ambassador's kids. Ambassadors get pretty much a free ride, with little to answer to. My son definitely deserves better than to be spoiled like one of their kids. I salute the people who spank, and I pity the fools who oppose it, but mostly, I pity the children of the fools who oppose spanking.

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over 4 years ago

I dont see whats wrong with corpoal punishment. I think that kids wont learn unless you smack them around a little. If they know the worst that's going to happen is a time out, then they'll do whatever they want.

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almost 5 years ago

good morning america had a piece on physical restraint in schools,12-10-2009. it is happening all over the country and has led to death.we have got to do something to stop this. our children are not going to school to be abused, they are to go to school to prepare them for their future and seeing and receiveing abuse is something they should not be learning.