Corporal Punishment in Public Schools

Last Updated: 08 Apr 2020
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Corporal punishment is the intentional use of physical pain as a method of changing behavior. Numerous nations have prohibited the use of corporal punishment in public schools, but the United States of America is a special case. Thirty states have prohibited the use of corporal punishment in public schools while twenty states have not, Texas being one of them. The use of corporal punishment in public schools should be prohibited because it restricts a student's academic success, facilitates aggression and violence in an adolescent's behavior, all while having no clear evidence that it actually works.

Corporal punishment creates an unhealthy educational environment which directly correlates with impeding students' academic performance. Even though one student receives punishment, this affects all the students who witness it, constructing “an environment of education that can be described as unproductive, nullifying, and punitive” (“Corporal Punishment in Schools”). Corporal punishment creates an atmosphere of fear in the classroom which can severely hurt a student's ability to do well in school.

Studies show that “as a group, states that paddled the most improved their scores the least,” while “the ten states with the longest histories of forbidding corporal punishment improved the most” (“Corporal Punishment in Schools and... ”). Today, succeeding in high school is very important, and with good reason. How well a student does in high school is what paves their way to a good college. Corporal punishment is used to deter bad behavior, but it puts students at a very serious disadvantage against students who learn in non-corporal punishment states.

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By definition, corporal punishment is said to change the behavior of the victim so that he or she will not act in the same way again, although there is no concrete evidence that supports this claim. In fact, “no clear evidence exists that such punishment lead to better control in the classroom” (“Corporal Punishment in Schools”). Thinking logically, hurting a child/adolescent will not result in better behavior because pain does not explain why bad behavior is wrong. A child/adolescent's brain is still developing, so just hurting an child/adolescent and then thinking that everything will be better is backward thinking.

“Physically punishing children has never been shown to enhance moral character development or increase the students' respect for teachers or other authority figures in general,” meaning corporal punishment is not even capable of doing what it is supposed to do (“Corporal Punishment in Schools”). Corporal punishment is being used ineffectively and the consequences far outweigh the potential good that it doesn't do. Though corporal punishment is effective in a short period of time, it causes more harm than good.

In school, student's are taught to be nice to others and to handle situations with a logical and calm mind, but corporal punishment “promotes a very precarious message: that violence is an acceptable phenomenon in our society” and “encourages children to resort to violence because they see their authority figures or substitute parents using it” (“Corporal Punishment in Schools”). Essentially, children and adolescents are being told that violence is okay and that if someone steals someone's pencil, then it is okay to go up to that person and start hitting them.

Yes, pking, paddling, and other forms of corporal punishment are “quick and it's effective – and that's true,” but that is all it is, quick and effective (“More Than 200,000 Kids Spanked At Schools”). A student may behave for a week, a month, maybe even for the rest of the school year, but corporal punishment cannot keep the behavior of a child/adolescent under control for the rest of his/her life. The memory of being hit is not so profound that it deters him/her from robbing a bank, or breaking into someone's home when he/she is thirty years old and can take care of themselves.

“Corporal punishment has also been linked to criminal and antisocial behaviors, likely because corporal punishment does not facilitate children's internalization of morals and values” (Barwick). If a victim of corporal punishment starts a family and their child misbehaves, physically hurting the child will probably be the first though to come to mind. Corporal punishment creates a cycle of violence and pain because of the lasting physical and mental scars it can leave. Thus, corporal punishment should be prohibited in all states of the United States of America. A deleterious classroom environment restricts a students academic success.

In the U. S. A. , twenty states have legalized the use of corporal punishment in public schools, even though there is no clear evidence that corporal punishment does indeed change the behavior of the inflicted for the better. What corporal punishment is linked to is reinforcement of aggression and violence in the behavior of the injured when he/she are older. Corporal punishment does control the behavior of a child/adolescent temporarily, it does not help in the long run, which is what school is about; school prepares the individuals of the future for the rest of their lives.

Cite this Page

Corporal Punishment in Public Schools. (2016, Aug 22). Retrieved from

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