Sept. 7, 2022 – Child development experts express disappointment that a Missouri school district is reinstating paddling as punishment despite overwhelming scientific evidence against it.
“There has been a lot of research conducted over the years that corporal punishment is harmful to children,” said Alison Jackson, MD, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect.
Cassville Public Schools announces it will resume corporal punishment after a 21-year hiatus, she said, amounting to a “regression.”
According to news reports, Cassville Superintendent Merlin Johnson said a recent school system survey showed students, parents and teachers were concerned about discipline. Some parents propose corporal punishment as a solution, but only if all else fails and the parent or caregiver agrees.
Evidence of Harm
Asked about school district decision, American Academy of Pediatrics Groups such as the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the Adolescent Health and Medicine Association, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and the American Academy of Family Physicians emphasize their longstanding opposition to corporal punishment in schools.
These organizations indicated that several A decade of research has shown that spanking children does not improve behavior or motivate learning, and can backfire, leading to greater aggression, academic problems, and physical harm.
A 2016 report from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development concluded that physical strength schools in the United States are disproportionately used for students who are black, male or disabled. The report notes that corporal punishment is seen as an international human rights violation.
Dr. George Holden, professor emeritus of psychology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said he was “frustrated, but not surprised that corporal punishment has returned to the district. While corporal punishment in public schools It has been declining, but 19 states have not banned it.
According to a 2016 report, 14 percent of school districts used corporal punishment, and 163,333 students in public schools received it in the 2011-12 school year. The practice. Corporal punishment is concentrated in the Southeast. Half of students in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama attend schools that use this practice.
The report states that only two states, New Jersey and Iowa, have banned private school Corporal punishment.
Jackson, Holden and other experts say mindset changes are slow and people who grew up with their parents hitting them may be defensive or dismissive of criticism. Experts say , some educators and parents may consider corporal punishment effective because it temporarily interrupts bad behavior.
Keep away from physical exertion
Still, more schools are shifting from having teachers use corporal punishment to using restorative practices, collaborative problem solving, and positive behavioral interventions and supports, said Holden, a nonprofit U.S. End Child Beating Coalition.
FredericMedway, A lot of districts now say corporal punishment is a last resort, said the Ph.D. professor emeritus of psychology at the University of South Carolina, which was not the case in the past few decades.
But he said he doubted the school Will stop using corporal punishment until the family stops the practice.
Doctors can play an important role in leading children and teens, says Jackson, in When intervening for new parents, the Center for Conservation at National Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. She advises doctors to ask new caregivers how they plan to address challenging behaviors and provide guidance.
Dmitry A healthy child visit should include an assessment of behaviors that could lead to disciplinary action, such as impulsivity and refusal to follow rules, which can be addressed with early mental health treatment and parenting coaching, Wei said.
Academy of Pediatrics Publication, Effective Discipline Raising Healthy Children
, describe alternatives to corporal punishment and recommend that physicians provide behavior management strategies for parents and recommend community resources such as parenting groups, classes and mental health services. The college also offers tips for parents on its website.
Health care professionals can “use their voice” to inform local, state and national policy discussions about corporal punishment Information on child health effects.