corporal punishment oklahoma

The U.S. Department of Education wants schools to stop using corporal punishment, a practice still legal in at least 23 states. The practice disproportionately affects students with disabilities and students of color.

Children served under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) were “overrepresented in receipt of corporal punishment,” according to the U.S. Department of Education. Students served under IDEA represented 13.2% of the student enrollment but 16.5% of the students who received corporal punishment. (Source: 2017-18 Dept. of. Ed Civil Rights Data Collection, updated May 2021.)

“It’s unacceptable that corporal punishment remains legally permissible in at least 23 states,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona wrote governors, chief state school officers, and school district and school leaders on March 24,  2023. “Our children urgently need their schools to raise the bar for supporting their mental health and wellbeing. Despite years of research linking corporal punishment to poorer psychological, behavioral, and academic outcomes, tens of thousands of children and youth are subjected to beating and hitting or other forms of physical harm in school every academic year.”

Boost has been sharing reports of corporal punishment still being used in New York schools despite it being banned. In response, New York lawmakers introduced a series of bills that would clarify the regulations and, for the first time, extend the laws to all private as well as public schools.

But other states are doubling down — and in Oklahoma, legislators are really going for the jugular, voting “no” on a bill to ban the use of corporal punishment on students with developmental disabilities. The reason? The Bible says it’s cool to do so, one lawmaker explained.

In the meantime, lawmakers across U.S. are pushing for harsher school discipline as safety fears rise. (Toughening gun laws? Disgustingly, not so much.) “Critics say the proposed state laws would punish young people still recovering from the pandemic and trigger a return to zero-tolerance discipline that could be disastrous for students of color and those with disabilities,” Chalkbeat reports.

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