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Missouri School Districts Embrace of Paddling Bucks Trends

Sept. 7, 2022 Child development experts expressed dismay a Missouri school district is reviving paddling as punishment despite overwhelming scientific evidence against it.

So much research has been done through the years that demonstrates that corporal punishment is bad for children, says Allison Jackson, MD, an associate of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Cassville Public Schools announcement that it could reinstate corporal punishment following a 21-year hiatus amounts to going backward, she says.

In accordance with news reports, Cassville Superintendent Merlyn Johnson said a recently available school system survey showed students, parents, and teachers were worried about discipline issues. Some parents proposed corporal punishment as a remedy, but only when other methods have failed, and parents or caregivers give their consent.

Evidence Showing Harms

Asked concerning the districts decision, groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, Society for Adolescent Health insurance and Medicine, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and the American Academy of Family Physicians stressed their long-standing opposition to corporal punishment in schools.

These organizations pointed to decades of research showing that hitting children will not improve behavior or motivate learning, and may backfire by resulting in greater aggression, academic problems, and physical injury.

A 2016 report from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health insurance and Human Development figured physical force in U.S. schools is disproportionately applied to students that are Black, male, or have disabilities. Corporal punishment is undoubtedly a global human rights violation, the report noted.

George Holden, PhD, a professor emeritus of psychology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, says he was discouraged, however, not surprised at the districts revival of corporal punishment. Although corporal punishment in public areas schools has been on the decline, 19 states haven’t banned it.

Based on the 2016 report, 14% of school districts used corporal punishment and 163,333 students in public areas schools were at the mercy of the practice through the 2011-12 school year. Corporal punishment is targeted in the Southeast. 1 / 2 of all students in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama attend a school that uses the practice.

The report noted that only two states, NJ and Iowa, have barred corporal punishment in private schools.

Jackson, Holden, along with other experts say mindsets are slow to improve, and folks who was raised with parents who hit them could be defensive or dismissive of criticisms. Some educators and parents may think that physical punishment works since it temporarily interrupts bad behavior, professionals say.

Leaving Physical Force

Still, more schools are shifting from letting teachers use corporal punishment and instead are harnessing restorative practices, collaborative problem-solving, and positive behavioral interventions and supports, says Holden, whos president of the nonprofit U.S. Alliance to get rid of the Hitting of Children.

FredericMedway, PhD, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of SC, said many districts now say physical punishment can be used as a final resort, that was false in decades past.

But he says he doubts schools will minimize using corporal punishment until families stop the practice.

Doctors can play a significant role in intervening with new parents, says Jackson, who leads the kid and Adolescent Protection Center at Childrens National Hospital in Washington, DC. She shows that doctors ask new caregivers about how exactly they intend to address challenging behaviors, and provide guidance.

Medway says well-child visits will include assessments of behavior that may provoke disciplinary action, such as for example impulsivity and refusal to adhere to rules, which may be addressed with early mental health treatment and parenting guidance.

An Academy of Pediatrics publication, Effective Discipline to improve Healthy Children, describes alternatives to corporal punishment and advises doctors to provide parents behavior management strategies and referrals to community resources such as for example parenting groups, classes, and mental health services. The academy offers strategies for parents on its website.

Alison Culyba MD, PhD, chair of the Society for Adolescent Health insurance and Medicines Violence Prevention Committee, says healthcare professionals may use their voices to see local, state, and national policy discussions concerning the health impacts of corporal punishment on children.

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