More than 160,000 children were disciplined using corporal punishment in public schools in the United States in the 2011-2012 school year, according to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Education. School corporal punishment, which typically involves striking a child with a wooden board or paddle, is currently legal in public schools in 19 U.S. states. A new Social Policy Report, published by the Society for Research in Child Development, has found that Black children, boys, and children with disabilities are subjected to corporal punishment with greater frequency than their peers.
The study presented in the report was conducted by Elizabeth T. Gershoff of the University of Texas at Austin and Sarah A. Font of Penn State University. It analyzes data gathered by the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education from 36,942 public schools in all 4,460 districts in the 19 states where school corporal punishment is legal. The study assessed which states and school districts are utilizing corporal punishment, and which children are punished using corporal punishment within these public schools.