Resolution: Corporal Punishment in Schools and Institutions

Corporal punishment, such as spanking, has detrimental effects on the development of children. Prevent Child Abuse America has taken a position on this issue.

A Resolution on the Use of Corporal Punishment in Schools and Institutions

Whereas, age-appropriate discipline may be necessary in school and institutional settings, nonviolent means of discipline, such as giving time-outs, explaining rules, or taking away privileges, have been shown to be more effective than violent discipline.

Whereas, the use of physical punishment teaches children how to use physical violence to control others rather than peaceful means of solving problems.1

Whereas, 365,508 school children were subjected to corporal punishment during the 1997-1998 school year.2

Whereas, currently nearly 50 percent of all states (23) allow corporal punishment in schools.3

Whereas, the use of physical force against an adult is considered a crime of battery or assault.

Therefore, be it resolved, that Prevent Child Abuse America supports:

Banning, in every state, the use of corporal punishment against children in all schools and institutions.

Providing initial and ongoing training to all teachers and staff on alternative means of discipline.

Promoting positive and appropriate behavior in school by teaching children appropriate behavior and coping skills through effective and proven educational and school-based programs that award good behavior and encourage accountability and peer mediation.


  1. Straus, MA and Gelles, RJ, Eds. (1990). “Physical Violence in American families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families.” New Brunswick, NJ: Transactions.
  2. U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. 1998 Elementary and Secondary School Civil Rights Compliance Report. State and national totals are statistical projections made by the U.S. Department of Education. Compiled by the National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools: Columbus, Ohio: 614/221-8829.
  3. Center for Effective Discipline, National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in School (NCACP), April 2001.

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