Corporal Punishment In The Classroom

By: Kimberly Burcham Email
By: Kimberly Burcham Email

Corporal punishment at school is banned in 160 countries around the globe and Kentucky is one of only 21 states in the U.S. where it's still legal in schools.

Recent numbers show even though the punishment is still used, it's on the decline in the commonwealth's education system.

Jennifer Banks says corporal punishment doesn't have much of a place in her classroom at Dennis Wooton Elementary anymore even though she teaches in Kentucky where it's legal.

“When it was a little more common before , I have used the paddle, but I've not in years,” Banks said.

Civil rights data from the last few years shows the number of students being punished in the form of paddling is steadily decreasing every year.

“It was pretty common back then. I think we did it because it was the way everything was done back then. But gradually it went by the wayside and we looked for different alternatives to do,” Nadine Vannarsdall said.

Some parents think their children should be punished just the way they were.

“I think they would know better than to do it the next time if they did get a paddling for it. If they knew the consequence they wouldn't do the behavior,” Diane Johnson said.

Before teachers can use a paddle, they have to have written permission from the parents saying they're allowed to use corporal punishment.

“Some of the parents will fill it out and bring it in front of the child and say, here I've given them permission to paddle you and some, that's all it takes,” Vannarsdall said.

A new report by the ACLU finds that boys are three times more likely to be paddled than girls, African American students more often than white and special education students, also more likely to receive corporal punishment.

For now, Principal Vannarsdall says she'll keep the school's "Attitude Adjuster" put away in her drawer.

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