Black Kids Get More In-School Spankings Than Whites

Posted Aug. 21, 2008 – If the adage that sparing the rod spoils the child, Black schoolchildren are a lot less spoiled than their White counterparts.

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A new study shows that of the more than 200,000 children who got spanked at school last year, Black and Native American and kids with disabilities got more than their fair share.

ACLU and Human Rights Watch found that children ranging in age from 3 to 19 years old are routinely physically punished for minor infractions such as chewing gum, talking back to a teacher or violating the dress code, as well as for more serious transgressions such as fighting.  Citing Education Department data, the groups found that there is a racial – and regional – component to who gets a whupping at school. 

Black pupils are more than twice as likely to be paddled – and that’s even in places where Black folks are the majority population, the study found. Native Americans were also more than twice as likely to be paddled as White kids, according to the 125-page report, "A Violent Education: Corporal Punishment of Children in US Public Schools.

In addition, Black girls were paddled more than twice as often as White girls; boys are three times as likely to be paddled as girls; special education kids got more wood than other children.

Corporal punishment, legal in 21 states, typically takes the form of "paddling," during which an administrator or teacher hits a child repeatedly on the buttocks with a long wooden board. The report shows that, as a result of paddling, many children are left injured, degraded, and disengaged from school.

The groups are calling for an end to corporal punishment in schools.

Every public school needs effective methods of discipline, but beating kids teaches violence and it doesn't stop bad behavior," said Alice Farmer, Aryeh Neier Fellow at Human Rights Watch and the ACLU, and author of the report. "Corporal punishment discourages learning, fails to deter future misbehavior and at times even provokes it.

And while most states have banned in-school spankings outright, there are still a good many paddlings going on in Dixie . After Texas and Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida and Missouri are making sure they’re not spoiling any children.

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