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What You Can Do

There are many people like you who care enough to make a difference—ordinary people who are becoming heroes to make the world safer and more peaceful for children.

See if corporal punishment is banned in your school...

Get a copy of the discipline code and any policy that deals with how and when corporal punishment can be administered. You may be able to write a letter asking that your child not be physically punished. If the principal says they do not have to honor your wishes, write a letter. If possible, have your family physician or pediatrician sign it. Tell your child that you do not want him/her hit in any way and tell them to tell you if it happens. Sometimes children are afraid to tell their parents.

If your child has a disability...

If he/she has an Individual Education Plan, ask that his/her plan include a statement that they are not to receive corporal punishment. If the school district refuses or if they hit your child anyway, request a due process hearing. Request that the school district give you a written copy of your rights for the due process procedure.

If your child is injured...

Take the child to an emergency room or your physician. Have color pictures taken of the injury. If you take the pictures yourself, have a witness. Ask the physician to report the injury to the child protective agency. To be sure it is reported, report the injury yourself. Find out if there are witnesses to the injury. Be sure to have a copy of the school's discipline policy. You may need to get your own attorney if the prosecutor does not file charges.

Talk with your child...

He/she may be fearful that you will blame them. If you notice sleeplessness, bed-wetting, school avoidance or aggressive behavior, see a psychologist or psychiatrist who deals with post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Organize support for a ban in your school district...

More than 40 national organizations have positions against the use of corporal punishment. Some of your allies may be local chapters of the PTA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of School Psychologists, the American Bar Association, the Mental Health Association and the National Association of Social Workers. Gather a group and provide information on corporal punishment and its effects. Get support when going to the local superintendent and Board of Education to ask for a ban. If your superintendent won’t support you, you can address the Board anyway. Provide information and ask for a ban and a timeline in which it will be considered. Follow-up on the request, and meet with board members individually to present your case.

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