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Corporal Punishment

Corporal punishment is the application of physical force to the body for the purposes of discipline. Corporal punishment of children, especially in schools, is declining in acceptability and use. Advocates, such as the Family Research Council, make careful distinctions between physical punishment and physical violence or abuse, and often cite the Bible in support of corporal punishment. Recommended forms of corporal punishment include spanking of the buttocks with the open hand and light slaps to the hand of the child. Opponents of corporal punishment cite studies indicating that corporal punishment can cause physical harm, is ineffective for changing behavior, leads to abuse, and may lower the intelligence of the child. Changing social attitudes toward corporal punishment have led to the prosecution of some parents and lawsuits against school personnel using corporal punishment. Many groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend against corporal punishment and advocate its elimination from schools.



"Corporal Punishment in Schools (RE9754)." In the American Academy of Pediatrics [web site]. Elk Grove Village, Illinois, 2000. Available from http://www.aap.org/policy/re9754.html; INTERNET.

Robinson, B. A. "Child Corporal Punishment: Spanking." In the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance [web site]. Kingston, Ontario, 2000. Available from http://www.religioustolerance.org/spanking.htm; INTERNET.

Brian Newberry

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 3