Eighteen states still permit spanking in public schools, but there are renewed efforts to ban the practice nationwide.
On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released an updated policy statement urging lawmakers to rid the U.S. of corporal punishment in schools. The organization cited numerous reasons.
The AAP noted there is a racial bias in its use. The organization said that Black boys were twice as likely as White boys to be spanked in school. The data also found that Black girls were three times more likely than White girls to be spanked.
That meant that Black boys were six times more likely to have corporal punishment used against them than White girls.
The AAP also found that disabled students were far more likely to have corporal punishment used against them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics not only warned against spanking in public schools, but also said it should not be used at home.
"In the short-term, corporal punishment may cause a child or adolescent to be fearful and immediately obedient. However, over the long-term, corporal punishment does not improve behavior," the policy statement reads. "Corporal punishment by parents or caregivers is associated with a range of negative effects among children and adolescents, including a higher incidence of behavior and mental health problems, impaired cognitive development, poor educational outcomes, impaired social-emotional development, problems with the ongoing relationship between parents and children, a higher risk for physical abuse, increased aggression and perpetration of violence, antisocial behavior, and decreased moral internalization of appropriate behavior."
In 2018, the AAP issued a policy statement that said spanking in general harms children.
"AAP recommends that pediatricians use their influence in office visits to help parents with age-appropriate strategies for handling their child's discipline. They also may refer families to community resources for more intensive or targeted help," the group said in 2018.
Which states allow corporal punishment?
According to the AAP, 18 states still permit it (two states ban the practice against students with disabilities):
- South Carolina
- Louisiana (banned against students with disabilities)
- Tennessee (banned against students with disabilities)
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