Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
April 2, 2024 ·  3 min read

School district reinstates spanking as punishment

Corporal punishment in schools is something that most parents would probably gawk at. The reality is, it is actually still legal in several states. Recently, a Missouri school district decided to reinstate corporal punishment, including spanking, as a punishment option, naturally with strict regulations around it. This is why they did and how it will be implemented.

Missouri School District To Reinstate Spanking As Punishment

The Cassville school district in Missouri announced that it will be bringing back spanking as a form of punishment for this school year. This decision comes as the result of a survey that they sent out to parents at the end of the last school year. The survey results revealed that parents wanted other forms of punishment for their children other than suspension. The last time corporal punishment was permitted in the district was in 2001. Apparently, several parents in the district have asked the question “Why can’t you paddle my student?”. The answer in the past was because spanking was not supported by their policy. (1)

The Rules On Spanking At School

Cassville School District Superintendent Merlyn Johnson has been clear, however, that there will be strict regulations on how and when spankings are used. Firstly, it will only be used when other disciplinary measures do not work. Secondly, the school will need to have written consent from the parents before it is carried out. Every single family will be asked to either opt in or out. Finally, spankings will be conducted only with informed recommendation and by the principal, in front of a witness, and with no other children present. (2)

“There had been conversations with parents and there had been requests from parents for us to look into it.” said Johnson.

Superintendent Johnson said that despite what people on social media might say, the majority of people in the district actually seem to be supportive of the decision. He also ensures that it will only be used on students whose parents wish to take part. The decision is that of the parents and the teachers and principals will respect whatever decision each child’s parent makes. They sent out forms at the schools’ open houses this past week.

Some of you may be thinking “wait, isn’t corporal punishment in schools illegal?”. Depending on which state you live in, it might be. This is because the Supreme Court ruled that corporal punishment in schools would be constitutional in 1977. This means that each state has the power to make its own decision on the matter. Currently there are 19 states that allow punishments such as spanking in their schools. Most of these are southern states, which tend to be more traditional. The states where spanking in schools is legal include:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wyoming

Johnson says that currently don’t know how many parents will opt in versus how many will not. The forms only went out last week, just ahead of the new school year, so they will likely have an answer in a few days. The only form of spanking allowed will be “swatting the buttocks with a paddle”.

“When it becomes necessary to use corporal punishment, it shall be administered so that there can be no chance of bodily injury or harm. Striking a student on the head or face is not permitted,” the policy states.

Sources

  1. Missouri school district reinstates spanking students as ‘last resort’.” The Guardian. Maya yang. August 25, 2022.
  2. A Missouri School District Has Reinstated Spanking.” The Cut. Bindu Bansinath. August 25, 2022.