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Education Secretary Urges States to End Corporal Punishment

Image: Education Secretary Urges States to End Corporal Punishment

Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. (AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 22 Nov 2016 11:51 AM

The Obama administration is calling for the end of corporal punishment in the states and counties where it is still allowed, The Washington Post reports.

Education Secretary John B. King, Jr., wrote a letter to governors and leaders in state schools calling corporal punishment "harmful, ineffective, and often disproportionately applied to students of color and students with disabilities," and asked them to "eliminate this practice from your schools, and instead promote supportive, effective disciplinary measures."

Corporal punishment is banned in 28 states and the District of Columbia, but there are 15 states where it is still permitted, and seven where it has not been outlawed.

According to a study published in January from the Brookings Institution, 80 percent of corporal punishment that occurs in schools takes place in Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

"First, black students are more likely to be located in states that use corporal punishment extensively. Second, in many states black students are disproportionately likely to be singled out for corporal punishment," wrote Dick Startz, U.C. Santa Barbara economics professor and the researcher behind the report.

"Notably, the very acts of corporal punishment that are permissible when applied to children in schools under some state laws would be prohibited as criminal assault and battery when applied to adults in the community in those very same states," King said.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Fatima Gross of the National Women's Law Center joined King in a conference call to reporters Monday, where they argued that corporal punishment is not useful.

It often has a negative impact on improving behavior and academic achievement, and that it is often minor infractions such as tardiness that result in physical punishment.

"What we know is that these sorts of severe discipline policies don't work. They leave students feeling unwelcome and unsafe at school," Gross said. "Corporal punishment of adults has been banned in prisons and in military training facilities and it's time we do the same for our nation's schoolchildren."

Weingarten argued that corporal punishment should have been outlawed "by all 50 states years and years ago," and that Donald Trump's administration should publicly oppose physical punishment.

"This is not just a Nov. 15 issue," Weingarten said. "This is a Jan. 21 issue. It doesn't actually matter who the secretary of education is or what people's view is about the election. This is a moral matter.

"This is a matter that we must all be — I don't care if you're a Republican or a Democrat, a conservative or a progressive — we must all be about safe and welcoming places for all students."

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The Obama administration is calling for the end of corporal punishment in the states and counties where it is still allowed, The Washington Post reports.
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2016-51-22
Tuesday, 22 Nov 2016 11:51 AM
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