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Caning as an alternative method of punishment should be adopted by the us justice system

April 15, 2010 6: On behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union ACLUits over half a million members, countless additional supporters and activists, and fifty-three affiliates nationwide and Human Rights Watch, one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights, we applaud the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities for conducting a hearing concerning the ongoing corporal punishment of American public school children and its impact on their educational success.

The ACLU is a nationwide, non-partisan organization working daily in courts, Congress, and communities to defend and preserve the civil rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.

For thirty years, Human Rights Watch has investigated human rights violations wherever they occur, including in the United States, exposed the perpetrators, and advocated for change. We are pleased to submit this written statement for the record on the issue of corporal punishment in public schools - a vitally important issue affecting children's access to high-quality education and a safe and supportive learning atmosphere.

The Ongoing Use of Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Each year, hundreds of thousands of students are subjected to corporal punishment in public schools. While significant, these numbers do not tell the whole story. These statistics only reflect data which has been reported to the Department of Education and they only include the number of students who are subjected to corporal punishment during the school year, not the total number of times that an individual student has been hit over his or her educational career.

In fact, children in some states receive greater protections against corporal punishment in detention facilities than they do in their public schools.

Corporal punishment

The Disproportionate Use of Corporal Punishment Students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately subjected to corporal punishment, hampering their access to a supportive learning environment. According to the Department of Education, while African Americans make up 17. One Mississippi high school student described the administration of corporal punishment in her school this way: I would say out of the whole school there's only about three white kids who have gotten paddled.

Even with all black students, there is an imbalance: This really affected me, being a dark-skinned person myself. The Department of Education has reported that although students with disabilities constitute 13. In Impairing Education, parents and grandparents of students with disabilities noted the changes in behavior and barriers to educational achievement stemming from the use of corporal punishment: A grandmother of a student who has Asperger's syndrome withdrew him from his Oklahoma school in part because of the hostile environment stemming from frequent use of corporal punishment: He very much didn't want to go to school.

No one's supposed to go to school to be tortured, school is supposed to be fun.

  1. The use of violence against students is never an acceptable means of punishment - it harms students physically, psychologically and academically. No one's supposed to go to school to be tortured, school is supposed to be fun.
  2. Although there have been some calls for the reinstitution of corporal punishment in response to rising crime rates in the United States and other countries in the post-World War II era, corporal punishment continues to be regarded as an inhumane and barbaric relic of the criminal justice systems of bygone eras. The last floggings in the United States , for example, were carried out in the state of Delaware in 1952 the practice was abolished there in 1972.
  3. See also, Santana v. I said I'd never take another paddling, it's humiliating, it's degrading.

Now, he struggles with anger; right after the incidents he'd have anger explosions. The Impact of Corporal Punishment On Students' Academic Performance Harsh physical punishments do not improve students' in-school behavior or academic performance. In fact, one recent study found that in states where corporal punishment is frequently used, schools have performed worse academically than those in states that prohibit corporal punishment.

It was used as a way to degrade, embarrass students. I said I'd never take another paddling, it's humiliating, it's degrading.

“Corporal Punishment in Schools and Its Effect on Academic Success” Joint HRW/ACLU Statement

Some teachers like to paddle students. Paddling causes you to lose respect for a person, stop listening to them.

For instance, some parents who learn that their children are being struck at public school find themselves without recourse, unable to effectively opt-out from the practice, and unable to obtain legal or other redress when their children have been paddled against their wishes. Ultimately some parents find that the only way they can protect their children from physical harm is to withdraw them from school altogether.

The prevalent use of physical violence against students creates an overall threatening school atmosphere that impacts students' ability to perform academically.

  1. The Department of Education has reported that although students with disabilities constitute 13.
  2. Define corporal punishment as any punishment by which physical force is used with the intention of causing some degree of pain or discomfort, however light.
  3. In a broad sense, the term also denotes the physical disciplining of children in the schools and at home. Whipping and even amputation remain prescribed punishments in several Middle Eastern nations that strictly observe Islamic law , however.
  4. Community-style therapeutic programmes for prisoners with substance use problems in Victoria, NSW and the ACT represent substantial advances in practice.

Rather than relying on harsh and threatening disciplinary tactics, schools and teachers should be encouraged to develop positive behavior supports PBSwhich have proven effective in reducing the need for harsh discipline while supporting a safe and productive learning environment. This bill would also require the Department of Education to provide assistance and support so that states may fully realize the potential of supportive and flexible behavior discipline practices.

By abandoning ineffective and brutal disciplinary practices, and by encouraging the adoption of PBS methods, our nation can provide opportunities for all students to achieve academic success in a supportive and safe school environment.

Recommendations In order to prevent the continued use of violence against children in our schools, we recommend that Congress: Introduce and pass federal legislation prohibiting the use of corporal punishment in public schools, conditioned on the receipt of federal funding. Define corporal punishment as any punishment by which physical force is used with the intention of causing some degree of pain or discomfort, however light.

Promote the use of positive behavioral supports by passing H.

Access Check

Require all schools and LEAs to report all instances where corporal punishment is used, not just the number of students who are punished in a given year. This data should be collected and disaggregated by student subgroups to assess disproportionate application.

Provide funding to those states which implement PBS practices so that teachers may be effectively trained to create safe and supportive school discipline plans. The use of violence against students is never an acceptable means of punishment - it harms students physically, psychologically and academically. The use of corporal punishment in schools is interfering with students' right to be treated with dignity and, as a result, is interfering with their right to a quality education.

By prohibiting the use of corporal punishment and helping states to develop safe and effective behavioral practices, this Congress could help to ensure that our nation's children are able to achieve their full educational potential in a supportive learning environment.

See id, at 27. See also, Santana v. The American Correctional Association has also issued standards banning use of corporal punishment in juvenile facilities.

See also Steven J. In addition, corporal punishment and other harsh disciplinary practices are prohibited in publicly-funded non-medical substance abuse and long-term medical care facilities. See also A Violent Education, at 5 "In the same year [2006-2007], in the 13 states with the highest rates of paddling, 1. Although girls of all races were paddled less than boys, African American girls were nonetheless physically punished at more than twice the rate of their white counterparts in those 13 states during this period".

See Civil Rights Data Collection, supra note 1.