End Corporal Punishment – By Nadja Umlauf

In 2016, 19 states legally allow teachers to use corporal punishment within schools and classrooms. Furthermore, according to the Washington Post, every 30 seconds a child is hit within school, and students have been hit for transgressions as minor as chewing gum in the classroom. This use of punishment within schools causes students to feel unsafe in their own learning environments and their communities. Not only is this reflected in the stories told by children subjected to corporal punishment, but it’s also reflected in the┬áresearch. In fact, the scientific/academic community is largely in consensus that corporal punishment, actually increases kids’ aggressive behavior, and a child’s risk of certain mental illnesses such as depression and addiction. These reported problems do not end in childhood. In one study, researches found that physical punishment resulted in an increase in alcohol and drug abuse 20 years later. In addition, corporal punishment has been shown to target minority students. Black students are three times more likely to be “paddled” than non-black students. Students with disabilities, who make up only 13.7% of the US student population make up 18.8% of students who have been corporally punished. This further pushes many students of color and disabled students out of schools. After being hit, many students feels less engaged in the classroom and in their studies. Education Secretary John King has recently called on states to ban the practice. We are asking states and school districts to immediately end hitting/beating students. It is clear that this system is not working. Instead, we must create safe learning environments were students are taught and not punished. We must stop making students feel unwanted and unworthy for making mistakes, and instead teach them how to learn from them. We must end corporal punishment.
Nadja Umlauf – UYC Youth Leader