We Need Corporal Punishment in the Classroom

Thesis: Educators should be allowed to use some forms of mild physical discipline in order to ensure that schools remain safe, structured environments where all children can learn effectively.

Violent crime in U.S. schools is a real problem despite tough safety measures. As such, it is increasingly important that teachers and administrators are able to take steps to manage student misbehavior and prevent small infractions from escalating into more serious threats. The occasional spanking can be an extremely effective means of reducing disruptions, and many expert psychologists and pediatricians agree that it has not been shown to have any appreciable negative effects on children, nor does it encourage aggressive behavior. Corporal punishment is most effective when policies regarding its use are clearly communicated and strictly followed, when both parents and students are made aware in advance of the consequences of various infractions, and when spanking or paddling is used judiciously and as a last resort when other options have not delivered results.

School Violence is All Too Real

In an ideal world, schools would be the safest place for children when they are outside their own homes. Schools would function as stimulating, creative havens of education and exploration where all students were equally able to learn in an atmosphere of peaceful study. Although many schools do manage to live up to this vision, the reality is that violent crimes regularly take place on school grounds all across the United States, including over twenty in the 2004-2005 school year alone. Despite ever tougher safety measures, such as the installation of metal detectors, the adoption of zero-tolerance policies, and police officers on campus, our n...

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...ailed reviews of the scientific literature on corporal punishment and notes that the body of research on the subject show that the negative effects of spankings are similar to those of other disciplinary tactics. Further, when practiced infrequently, spanking can actually be more effective than other measures of discipline at reducing certain types of behavior.


Centuries of common sense and many scientific studies indicate that there is nothing intrinsically harmful about corporal punishment if it is used as one out of many possible options for disciplining children when they risk the safety of others. Teachers and school officials should not be criticized for taking steps to maintain the safety and order of the school environment, especially if the occasional spanking helps to prevent more serious and potentially dangerous misconduct down the line.

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