The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that corporal punishment occurs in schools approximately 1 to 2 million times per year. In the US, twenty-two states allow corporal punishment. Twenty-eight schools have banned corporal punishment in schools. Other states allow corporal punishment only if the schoold has the permission of the child’s parent or guardian.


Defenders of corporal punishment argue that its use is sometimes necessary to instill discipline. Many invoke their religious beliefs and references to spanking in the Bible as the method of disciplining children. This viewpoint is especially prevalent in the southern U.S. and it is not surprising to find that most southern states still allow corporal punishment in schools. Elsewhere in the U.S., however, more and more states are abolishing the practice and many school districts within states where it is legal have abolished corporal punishment within their district. The position of the American Academy of Pediatrics is that corporal punishment in schools may actually cause children to become disruptive as well as violent and at the same time have an adverse affect on the student’s self-esteem. Other organizations opposed to it include the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American School Counselor Association, the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

A Global Perspective

The United States is the only country in the western world to allow corporal punishment in its schools. All industrialized countries have abolished corporal punishment in schools. Australia abolished corporal punishment in schools in 2007.