American Academy of Pediatrics Renews Call for All States to Ban School Corporal Punishment

8 August 2000

KPNX-TV12 News

The American Academy of Pediatrics is taking a stronger stand against spanking, specifically corporal punishment in schools. Corporal punishment in schools is still legal in 23 states and polls show many parents believe spanking still has its place.

"Spare the rod, spoil the child, that's where we base our spanking," says Pediatrician Wayne Yankus. He goes on to say that it's the way he was brought up and that the kids today don't get it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics now advocates an all out ban on spanking at home and school. Pat Etheridge of Atlanta, Georgia says, "Corporal punishment has no place. We need to talk about violence mediation skills, but we need to reduce the amount of violence that we find in schools at this time. Therefore, there's no place for us to be spanking children."

The new policy statement urges parents, educators and politicians to try and outlaw corporal punishment in all states and encourage alternative methods of discipline.

The government's own estimates show how pervasive corporal punishment is, it happens between one and two million times a year in schools across the country.

The academy acknowledges that physical force may be necessary at times to protect other students or staff from harm, but rules out the rod for routine discipline.

"We're working as pediatricians to educate families for alternative discipline methods that are positive. Schools should be in the same vein. We should be giving positive reinforcement, not negative reinforcement to violence," says Dr. Yankus.

A recent study suggests that spanking can lead to violent, anti-social behavior, things like cheating and being disobedient in school.

Irwin Hyman, a psychologist at Temple University has worked for years to abolish corporal punishment and says, "There's no other place in our society where somebody can agress, inflict pain, smack another person. So why should we be able to do this to children."

And with the exception of the United States and Canada, every industrialized country in the world now prohibits school corporal punishment.