Education Policy

End Corporal Punishment in Schools

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 across 19 states. While many states have banned the use of corporal punishment, more than 106,000 children received 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.

corporal punishment dashboard screenshotNational Data Dashboard: Corporal Punishment in U.S. States & School Districts

The dashboard allows you to view the rates of corporal punishment by the states and school districts who still use this type of disciplinary action.

See IDRA’s Policy Brief

Issue brief cover Stopping Harmful Corporal Punishment Policies in TexasTexas is one of only 19 states in the United States that still allows corporal punishment in schools (including charter schools). In Texas, corporal punishment is the “deliberate infliction of physical pain by hitting, paddling, spanking, slapping or any other physical force used as a means of discipline” (TEC, Sec. 37.0011).

In June 2021, IDRA released, Stopping Harmful Corporal Punishment Policies in Texas, By Morgan Craven, J.D.

Hearings and Tools

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

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

Corporal Punishment is Violence Against Children – InfographicInfographic: 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

Letter: IDRA Endorses House Bill to End Corporal Punishment in Schools, December 2020