Should corporal punishment be allowed in schools?


Many parents who use corporal discipline at home are opposed to its use in a Christian school. They feel that only the parent should administer this type of discipline when needed. I have always believed that the school should have the authority to paddle when needed. What are your views on this controversial subject?


Given the number of incidences of abuse occurring I'm not surprised that parents have concerns about turning rights to physical punishment over to school officials. From a scriptural viewpoint, there is nothing indicating that corporal punishment can't be done by others. In fact, it appears that in some cases it was used by the government to punish certain offenses (Proverbs 10:13; 19:29).

In private schools, parents have the option of sending their children to these schools. Thus, as long as the policy of the school regarding corporal punishment is clearly laid out, such as who is allowed to administer it, in what cases it is used, and the guidelines for the actual administration, then the parents can make an informed choice as to whether the school meets their needs.

One of the root causes of problems in public schools today is there is no effective way to enforce rules and discipline. You can't flunk a student, so there is no incentive for doing homework or getting good grades if a child is determined not to be obedient. Schools will use detentions, but again, if a child doesn't go there isn't anything that can be done by the school. About the only option a school has for severe punishment is suspension or expulsion, which they generally want to avoid because these also impact the funding they receive.

Parents aren't helping either as the school is generally seen as "the enemy." Parents tend to take the side of their children instead of the side of the teachers and administrators. Since there is no punishment at home for disobedience in the school, again violence and a lack of learning increases.

I see no reason for taking away options from a school for keeping violence and a disciplined learning environment. Teachers and administrators need tools available to them that allow enforcement of rules. Currently, 28 states prevent corporal punishment in schools. See: "States with Corporal Punishment in Schools" for a list. Other forms of punishment which also give benefits such as physical workouts or homework assignments should also be a part of a school's "arsenal" against disruptive and unruly behavior.

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