Spanking still legal?


When I was in elementary school, I remember one kid who had to go to the principal. The rumor was that he was spanked. I'm not sure how we all knew, but we did. Since I'm ancient (at least my middle school daughter tells me I am), I assumed that would never, ever happen in public schools today.

And then I read the article in Huffington Post about a high school "high-achieving" (shouldn't matter) girl who had bruises and blisters after being spanked by a male administrator. Since spanking is apparently common in Texas, the article focuses on the high school's "oops" moment of having a male administer the corporal punishment instead of a female.

My first reaction was that this was a sensationalized Huff Post story, but after doing a bit of research I found out that corporal punishment is still legal and practiced, not just in Texas but in Missouri too (Mo Revised Statutes 160.261. 1.) In fact, Missouri kids are spanked in public schools on a regular basis. Who knew? In 2006 districts in Missouri reported 5,159 incidents of corporal punishment. Ed.Gov

Schools would only have to require parental notification if that is part of the district policy. Wow. Oh. Wow. This, of course, would never fly in your wealthier, high-parent-involvement districts in St. Louis County.

On the Ed.gov site I looked up several geographically diverse county districts (Webster, Pattonville, Mehlville, Hazelwood, Normandy), none of which showed any instances of corporal punishment. I was surprised, however, to see that the St. Louis City schools did use corporal punishment. (70 instances per Ed.gov site) I was right to be surprised as spanking is against SLPS board policy as stated in the current faculty handbook.

Corporal punishment of any kind is not permitted in the St. Louis Public Schools. Any employee who uses physical force or the threat of physical force as a means of student discipline or punishment shall be subject to disciplinary action, including discharge. (SLPS Faculty Handbook 2012-2013) adopted 1991 revised 1999

I will be interested to see if that number is 0 when the 2011-12 numbers from the Civil Rights Data Collection on the Ed.gov site are released.

The Texas school district solved its dilemma by ruling that administrators could use corporal punishment on members of the same sex, which goes in the wrong direction.

Which Missouri legislators will step up and protect our children?