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Beating Children Is Still Legal In Twenty U.S. States

Beating Children Is Still Legal In Twenty U.S. States

In 20 states of the United States, it is still legal for teachers to paddle their students. That is a shocking statistic. Even when in prison, criminals are protected by law from being physically abused by those in a position of authority over them. But for our children, no such protection is available.

We are one of the few countries to allow such treatment. 102 countries, including Canada, Australia, the countries of Western Europe and the U.K., have outlawed corporal punishment in schools. Within the United States, plenty of organizations oppose corporal punishment, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Consider a couple of examples: a high school coach in Georgia knocked a student’s eyeball out of its socket to punish the student for fighting with another student. In Texas, a 14-year-old autistic special education student was smothered to death by his teacher’s “restraint.” The kid was placed face down on the floor and when he struggled, his teacher sat on his shoulders to keep him still. He sufficated to death.

Because of these and many other instances of child abuse at the hands of teachers, Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D – NY) will introduce a bill in the House this week to deny federal funding to schools that use corporal punishment. For the first time in over 18 years, Congress held hearings in April, 2010, on the use of corporal punishment in schools, and this bill was the result of those hearings.

Here’s what was revealed: every twenty seconds of the school day, a child is beaten by an educator. Every four minutes, an educator beats a child so badly that she seeks medical attention. The U.S. Department of Education reported that in  the 2006 – 07 school year, 223,190 students were the victims of such school violence, and over 20,000 of these young people had to seek medical attention.

These are outrageous statistics, and we applaud Rep. McCarthy for introducing her bill. It is time for the United States to join the rest of the developed world and implement a federal ban on corporal punishment. Corporal punishment is wrong. The American Psychological Association says corporal punishment may do far more than inflict physical pain; it may also lower self-esteem, instill hostility and teach children that  physical violence is an acceptable problem-solving tool. And it doesn’t work.

Isn’t it time that we outlawed this barbaric practice in the United States?

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311 comments

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8:08PM PST on Nov 25, 2011

There is a big difference between a swat on the fanny and a beating. I have seen parents trying to talk a toddler out of running into the street-Excuse me- that's nonsense- grab them and swat their behind saying DON"T DO THAT! Later when they are older explain, IF NECESSARY.

5:38AM PST on Nov 25, 2011

There are other ways to discipline children without hitting them. Children model the behavior they see and experience. Hit your child and he or she may very well grow up to inflict harm on others. Children who are disciplined in constructive ways that advocate discipline and teach good behavior (not corporal punishment) grow up understanding why it is important to have good behavior. Adults who hit children are not smart enough to use more intelligent means of discipline!

4:17AM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

Children mimic adults. The worst is that this is what you see and hear about but is only the tip of the iceberg.

11:28PM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

Adolph Hitler was savagely spanked by his stepfather, who happened to be Jewish. I read that psychology professionals believe Hitlers' treatment of the Jewish people was in all likelihood, due to this brutal treatment by the stepfather. The German soldiers who carried out Hitler's cruel orders were also physically beaten as children.they had learned to obey at any cost rather than think for themselves. So if you think spanking is a good idea, I suggest there is good and ample evidence that spanking is more about parents losing control and not knowing how to handle behavior problems, thus their frustration come out violently.Spanking a very young child teaches them to strike out when they are frustrated or angry.it also teaches them to lie if it helps avert a spanking.

9:35AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Maybe they should give the corporal punishment directly to the 'non-violent' parents, whose kids are running amok.

4:47AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

all those morons who defend hitting children are criminal. spanking leads to phsychological issues later. no matter how hard you spank it is not the spanking as they grow up it is the humiliation.

2:01PM PDT on Jul 22, 2011

Michael C
just how would that want-ad read? "Wanted someone willing to inflict pain on children as punishment for daring to express any unwanted thoughts or actions" ????

while I personally feel that a smack to a meaty area of the body (delivered with just enough force to startle and regain a child's attention not cause pain) is sometimes necessary, other methods should be tried to redirect their focus and gain their attention first, like whistle and ask them to look at you while you are talking. Sometimes adults are caught up in the moment and are not easy to redirect, children are the same. You would most likely touch an adult friend to gain their attention if it was necessary, Most would not assault their friend, why would you a child? inflicting pain on a child as punishment is unnecessary and unacceptable period.

2:36PM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

I couldn't agree more with Len F. and Rose L. responses. Spanking is not beating! Children today get no discipline at home! Teachers are scared! My 4 year old son gets spanked when needed because I do not want him turning into a juvenile deliquent! My parents spanked me and I am glad they did! I love them for caring enough about me to make sure I knew right from wrong- needless to say, I didn't get spanked very much because I knew there would be consequences to my actions! Children of today for the most part have no consequences to anything they may do! I would never beat my child! I love my child and want him to have great manners, be a kind and caring person and know that there are consequences to his actions which will be given to him when necessary!

4:27PM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

I'm shocked that 20 states do not protect children in the classroom. I am also shocked at how many people--even on this site--DEFEND HITTING CHILDREN! You all say the same thing basically, that spanking is different than beating. Kid beatings are spankings by adults that are out of control. The only way to ensure that beatings don't occur is to ban all hitting of children. If they are not allowed to hit kids EVER they will not lose control as they do and end up beating them. Logic.

There is NEVER a reason to hit ANYONE. There are so many other ways to discipline or get your point across! Hitting is a LAZY solution and makes the kids want to fight back, or to just accept that they are victims that deserve to be kicked around.

Do you agree with spousal abuse too? After all, if a wife doesn't get dinner ready in time shouldn't she be hit till she obeys? Or if a husband can't get "it" up shouldn't the wife hit him until he lives up to his marital agreements?

No? What's the difference? (Besides that these kids are minors that we are supposed to be protecting...) Hitting kids doesn't make them better students or citizens. It makes them humiliated and into victims or into haters so that they become violent themselves.

I'd love to slap all of you that think hitting is okay REALLY hard right across your faces. Would that be okay with you? Why not? If you were a kid and I was a teacher then would it be alright? Your comments infer that it would be fine and that is sick.

9:37AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

I normally think very highly of Care2 and its articles, but I'm disappointed in this one. To cite a couple outrageous cases of child abuse and shift the focus to corporal punishment as if it were the same thing is no different in substance than describing cases of rape as a prelude to pointing out how evil sex is. In our schools, we have no corporal punishment. In fact, the regulations are so "protective" of the children that we have no discipline at all and students run around playing in class, throwing books, cursing at the teachers, so that nobody leans at all. I'd hate to see this situation become a federal mandate.

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