Though many may assume corporal punishment is a thing of the past in American schools, it's still a legal practice in a multitude of states and educational institutions, particularly in private schools.
Only a handful of states have banned physical discipline by school teachers in private schools as of this year, and one more just got added to the bunch.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a law Wednesday banning the use of corporal punishment in all private schools, making the state one of the few in the U.S. to forbid the act in all types of schools, as it's already been prohibited in New York public schools since 1895.
The New York Times reports the law was proposed in response to its investigation last September centered on the use of corporal punishment in Hasidic Jewish community schools. The report said if a student's mind wandered or they stopped following along with a teacher, the child was often faced with corporal punishment.
The law was later unanimously approved by the State Legislature in June, paving its way to Gov. Hochul's desk.
"Corporal punishment is unacceptable," Ms. Hochul said in a statement to the publication. "This new law will ensure students in every New York school are protected from mistreatment."
The Education Trust defines corporal punishment as "the act of inflicting physical pain on a student’s body for the purpose of discipline, including striking, paddling, spanking, and other forms of physical violence."
The practice has largely declined in recent years, but tens of thousands of students were still subject to corporal punishment as recently as 2018, according to information from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
Before New York's law, corporal punishment was still legal in every state's private schools except for New Jersey, Iowa and Maryland. And for public schools, it's legal in 17 states. In one state where it's legal, Missouri, one district even just reinstated spanking last school year.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups have long called for a full abolition of corporal punishment.
The agency reports the act is associated with "more problematic, externalizing behaviors among children across cultures" as well as the possibility of a child or adolescent becoming fearful. It also says it does not improve behavior over the long term.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com