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Eight Things We Know

  1. Poor children, minorities, children with disabilities and boys are hit more frequently in schools, sometimes at 2-5 times the rate of other children.1

  2. Corporal punishment has been abolished in more than 100 nations of the world.

  3. Corporal punishment teaches children that violence is a way to solve problems. Research shows that this message is taught to those who inflict pain, those who receive it, and those who witness it.2

  4. Corporal punishment of children is related to decreased internalization of moral rules, increased aggression, more antisocial behavior, increased criminality, decreased mental health outcomes, increased adult abusive behaviors, and increased risk of being victimized by abusive relationships in adulthood.3

  5. Academic achievement is a risk factor in the use of corporal punishment of children.4

  6. Corporal punishment reinforces physical aggression as an acceptable and effective means of eliminating unwanted behavior in our society.3

  7. There is overwhelming evidence that harsh interventions are damaging to children, both emotionally and physically. The effects of such trauma may be compounded when a child has pre-existing learning difficulties. When schools respond to these challenges using harsh methods, children can be further traumatized.2

  8. School corporal punishment is more widely used in states in the south and southwest and in rural districts rather than urban and suburban districts.6

1Gregory, J. F. (1995). The Crime of Punishment: Racial and Gender Disparities in the use of Corporal Punishment in U.S. Public Schools.The Journal of Negro Education, 64(4), 454. doi:10.2307/2967267

2Taylor, C. A., Manganello, J. A., Lee, S. J., & Rice, J. C. (2010). Mothers' Spanking of 3-Year-Old Children and Subsequent Risk of Children's Aggressive Behavior. Pediatrics, 125(5), E1057-E1065. doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-2678

3Cherian, V. I. (1994). Corporal Punishment and Academic Achievement of Xhosa Children From Polygynous and Monogamous Families. Journal Of Social Psychology, 134(3), 387-389.

4Cruz, D., Narciso, I., Pereira, C., & Sampaio, D. (2014). Risk Trajectories of Self-Destructiveness in Adolescence: Family Core Influences. Journal Of Child & Family Studies, 23(7), 1172-1181. doi:10.1007/s10826-013-9777-3

5National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2004). Young Children Develop in an Environment of Relationships: Working Paper No. 1. Retrieved from

6Straus, M. A., & Stewart, J. H. (1999). Corporal punishment by American parents: National data on prevalence, chronicity, severity, and duration, in relation to child and family characteristics. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 2(2), 55-70. Retrieved from

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