Corporal punishment is the deliberate infliction of physical pain such as flogging, slapping, spanking and paddling to punish wrongdoing. It can take the form of parental, school or judicial corporal punishment. Although opposition to it is strong, corporal punishment still has some strong arguments for it. It is more common in developing countries; however, corporal punishment is still legal in schools in 19 U.S. states. One federal analysis found that a student is disciplined by corporal punishment every 30 seconds.
Relatively Immediate Results
Compared to alternative methods of retribution such as expulsion, suspension, grounding or community service, corporal punishment has immediate effects. It is a short-term method of punishment that can be quickly administered in the home, school or in prison. For example, a student may stop talking and disrupting a class for a while if the teacher spanks him. The teacher can then go back to teaching without taking too much time managing a student’s behavior.
Physical pain, embarrassment and fear are strong deterrents for the person who receives corporal punishment and for those who witness it. People will associate a certain behavior with a certain consequence such as spanking, paddling or flogging. This encourages avoidance of behaviors that elicit corporal punishment. Children being physically punished will also feel deterred from engaging in certain behaviors or activities that will attract physical punishment.
Compared to alternative methods of punishment and discipline, corporal punishment can cost less. In the case of parental and school corporal punishment, only a ruler, a paddle or a belt are required. Schools with limited finances and resources use corporal punishment as a more cost-effective method of discipline. In judicial corporal punishment an alternative method would be rehabilitation or community service programs, which can be costly to organize and maintain.
Corporal Punishment in the U.S.
States that allow corporal punishment in schools are mostly concentrated in the South. It is most prevalent in Texas, according to The Washington Post. Parental permission is typically required. These states allow corporal punishment: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.