Every student deserves a learning environment that fosters growth and belonging, where they are safe and free from harm. However, such a learning environment is not possible if corporal punishment is allowable under the guise of “discipline.”
Corporal punishment is still legal in schools in 21 states, with more than 106,000 children receiving corporal punishment during the 2015-16 school year.
Black students disproportionately receive corporal punishment in schools as well as students with disabilities, making this a key racial justice and educational equity issue.
Data indicate that corporal punishment is used on children – specifically students of color – as young as 3 years old. Any student receiving corporal punishment is one student too many.
Corporal punishment does not teach nor lead to improved behavior. It is associated with negative outcomes, poor behavioral and mental health, and reduced cognitive ability and self-esteem. Physical harm to students is not only an impediment to students’ growth, but it also is an equity concern that impacts students that have been underserved by the current system.
Big News! We’re thrilled to see that the youth-led movement to end corporal punishment in Kentucky has resulted in statewide success! As of November 7, 2023, every school district in Kentucky has now adopted a policy to ban hitting and paddling children in schools.
IDRA Issue Brief on Corporal Punishment in Texas
Texas is one of only 23 states in the United States that still allows corporal punishment in schools (including charter schools). Thousands of young Texans are hit in their schools every year, despite research showing that corporal punishment harms students physically, emotionally, socially, and academically and creates unsafe school climates. This practice has persisted for far too long in Texas schools, even as it is prohibited in other state-regulated settings, including foster care placements and Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities (Texas DFPS, 2017; TJJD, 2022). The Texas Legislature has the power to stop this outdated, harmful and unnecessary form of school-based violence and must use that power immediately.
In April 2023, IDRA released, Hitting Hurts – The Case for Ending Corporal Punishment in Texas, by Morgan Craven, J.D., & Joanna D. Sánchez, Ph.D. (See PDF in English • Español)
IDRA’s newest map shows corporal punishment data for public school districts in Texas. You can see the number of corporal punishment incidents in each school district or legislative district.
Hearings and Tools
Article: Support the Protecting our Students in Schools Act – Why the Federal Government Must Act Now to End Corporal Punishment by Morgan Craven, J.D.,
Op-Ed: Commentary: It’s past time for corporal punishment to end in schools by Morgan Craven, J.D., San Antonio Express-News – October 6, 2023
Factsheet: Texas House Bill 772
Testimony: Hitting Hurts – It is Time to End Corporal Punishment in Texas Schools – IDRA Testimony for House Bill 772, submitted by Morgan Craven, J.D., to the Texas House Committee on Youth Health and Safety, April 3, 2023 – See video
Letter: IDRA joins more than 200 organizations and individuals as part of the Federal School Discipline and Climate Coalition to send letter to Congressional offices to end corporal punishment.April 29, 2022
Federal Hearing: Serving All Students: Promoting a Healthier, More Supportive School Environment, Hearing by the U.S. House Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee, February 16, 2022
- Serving All Students – Promoting a Healthier, More Supportive School Environment, Written Testimony by Morgan Craven, J.D., IDRA National Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement
- Verbal Testimony Presented by Morgan Craven, J.D., IDRA National Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement
- Video of the hearing
Infographic: Corporal Punishment is Violence Against Children
Joint letter: Support Legislation to Advance Safe, Healthy, and Inclusive School Climates, with the Leadership Conference and 230 other organizations, January 19, 2022
Joint letter: Calling for action in support of a suite of bills to address harmful school discipline and policing, with Federal School Discipline and Climate Coalition and 205 other organizations, October 26, 2021
Congressional Briefing on the Protecting Our Students in Schools Act
- IDRA co-hosted a congressional briefing on the federal corporal punishment ban in July 2021. Watch video of briefing
- Report: Congressional Briefing Stresses Need to End Corporal Punishment of Students – IDRA releases report: Stopping Harmful Corporal Punishment Policies in Texas
Letter: IDRA Endorses House Bill to End Corporal Punishment in Schools, December 2020