Education Chief to Schools: Stop Hitting Kids

John King says corporal punishment is 'harmful,' 'ineffective'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2016 9:56 AM CST
Education Chief to Schools: Stop Hitting Kids
In this July 19, 2016, file photo, Education Secretary John King speaks on a panel with first lady Michelle Obama to college-bound students at the White House.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Education Secretary John King has a message for states where physical discipline is permitted in schools, per USA Today: Quit it. In a letter to governors and state school chiefs, King says 22 states—mostly in the South and West—still allow corporal punishment or don't forbid it. He implores them to stop the "harmful" and "ineffective" practice, saying it teaches kids that getting physical is OK to solve problems. He also points out that some corporal punishment taking place in schools would be considered criminal assault or battery in real-world settings. About 80 groups—including the NAACP—lent their support to a similar letter penned Monday by the National Women's Law Center, reports CBS News.

"Corporal punishment of adults has been banned in prisons and in military training facilities, and it's time we do the same for our nation's schoolchildren," an NWLC rep says. King also notes that physical punishment isn't applied equitably to all students. For example, even though black students make up about 16% of attendees in public elementary and secondary schools, they're on the receiving end of one-third of the corporal punishment. Boys are subjected to 80% of such acts, while students with disabilities also tend to be victims more so than other students. "These data and disparities shock the conscience," King writes. (Alabama paddled 19K students in one school year.)

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