Illinois Part of Trend against Spanking Pupils

By Governing | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), September 19, 1993 | Go to article overview

Illinois Part of Trend against Spanking Pupils


Governing, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


For many years, it has been against the law in this country to punish prison inmates or members of the military by inflicting physical pain. But the use of corporal punishment to discipline school children has been a different matter: Only recently have states begun to make it illegal.

Illinois is the latest to do so; this summer, the Legislature passed and sent to Gov. Jim Edgar a bill barring the use of corporal punishment in public schools.

A decade ago, paddling was legal in all but four states. Since then, 20 more states have abolished it. Another 20 have implemented some kind of restrictions: parental permission, witnesses, written rules or reports.

During the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of students struck each year in public schools declined from 1.4 million to about half a million. Most paddling is done in the South and Midwest.

Despite the trend away from spanking, the debate over the practice shows no sign of abating.

"Punishment in general is an ineffective, and, in fact, counterproductive form of discipline," argues Irwin Hyman, director of the Center for the Study of Corporal Punishment and Alternatives at Temple University. …

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