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5th May 2016 21:00 | LAST COMMENT 298 weeks ago

School where Corporal Punishment Would have happened


The discussions on the topic corporal punishment in American schools today is on the decline as is the action itself. Corporal punishment, which is defined as any punishment which physical force is used with the intention of causing pain or harm, is still administered in some American schools. Statistics has shown that over the years there has been a decline in corporal punishment.


The history of corporal punishment in American schools is still a grey area that needs more research to be carried out. It is however believed that corporal punishment was brought by the early settlers from Europe. This was among the many existing practices of their own that they brought to America. There is documentation of whipping with a switch made from branches and twigs in the earliest literature.

in the late 19th century some districts specified the use of certain implements in the punishment of children. Alameda district in California passed a regulation in 1893 requiring the use of leather strap in punishing the kids. The leather strap was to be used in the palm of the hand but this practice did not become popular in the USA. In the New York state it was used to a certain extent as revealed in a case in 1880.

Wooden Paddle used for Corporal Punishment videos


It is not clear when the use of wooden paddle was adopted as an implement in administering punishment, but it remains the most popular instrument in punishing students in America. The earliest mention of the the word paddle was in a news item after school punishment had gone to extreme extents in an Iowan school. They described the paddle as being three feet in length, one and half inch in thickness and one and half inches in width. The paddle was created with the intention of punishing the boy child as described in a newspaper editorial back in 1908. The article described the area of the body that the paddle could be used on as being very suitable and not susceptible to mortal wounds. It was covered with bones abundantly covered with muscular tissues and there was no danger of breaking them. The paddle was also used in the American colleges and by the end of 1930s it had become the main instrument of use in corporal punishment in most districts across several states. Critics reveal that the paddle was more favored than the switch. This is because of its weight and solidity which was effective through thick clothing such as the denim jeans.

It is also documented in history that some paddles had holes drilled in them. This was so as to reduce air resistance while increasing the effectiveness of the punishment. However such acts have since been dissallowed by most school district regulations because there was that it increases the chances of bruising. 

The rattan cane had been the preffered instrument of choice in Boston public schools until the 1960s. It was referred to as the Boston rattan and was applied to the students hand. The use of rattan cane was abolished in a Masachusetts schools in 1972 while it was abolished from St. Louis Missouri in 1981 where it had also been in use.

rattan cane used for corporal punishment

It is important to note that New Jersey was the first state to make an attempt at abolishing corporal punishment in 1867 which was successful. An attempt to reintroduce punishment in schools was made in Newark New Jersey and it was also rejected. This was in 1894 and the instrument of use if it had passed would have been the rattan cane. In 1900 a school in New Jersey got around this by requiring the parents to punish their unruly children.

Rubber hose was also another non standard instrument which was used in administering punishment in American schools. Areas that the instrument was used include New Mexico, Vermont, New York and Ohio.

Big city school districts especially in the north abolished punishment in schools long before the states in which they were located had abolished it. New York City is a good example having abolished Corporal punishment in schools in 1870 while in New York state it was discontinued in 1985.

The use of physical punishment in college and university may seem surprising to many but it happened. Nortwestern University in Chicago had spanking of students being carried out by the campus police while the at University of Missouri it was carried out by the senior students who had official approval from the school. At the University of Missouri it was a tradition that had been started in 1905 and was upheld by a vote of the student body in 1920. Spanking was also done at the University of Washington in Seattle. It was however banned in 1914.

Spanking as used for Corporal Punishment movies

Spanking and paddling of students by the schools had been a topic of discussion over the years. The contentious topic was brought before the US supreme court. The supreme court ruled that paddling or spanking of students by school authorities or teachers is lawful where it has not been explicitly outlawed by the local authorities. A decision that still stands up to date.


Over the recent years, punishment incidences in American schools has sharply declined. Only 31 states have abolished punishment in public schools while it is permitted in the other 19 states. In Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi it remains a widespread practice. In the following six states; Oklahoma, Lousiana, Tennesse, Texas, Georgia and Missouri, punishment is a routine but mostly in rural or small towns. The incidences of punishment in schools is close to negligible in proportion to school enrollment in the following states; Wyoming, Arizona, South Carolina, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Idaho, Kansas, Indiana and Kentucky. Delaware in 2003, Pennsylvania in 2005 and New Mexico are the latest states to abolish to abolish punishment in schools. The number of paddling had however fallen to low levels. In Wyoming, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas and Louisiana, efforts to abolish punishment by legislation has failed. Attempts to reintroduce corporal punishmnet in California, Montana, Iowa and Oregon have also failed.

Ruling by the US supreme court in 1975 allowed children to be spanked by the schools against their parents wish subject to certain criteria being met. In 2011 Texas and Nort California introduced laws giving parents the right to exempt their daughters or sons from school punishment. All they needed to do was to fill out the form provided.


How Punishment was/is Administered in Schools

wooden paddle for corporal punishment

The most common method of administering corporal punishment in US schools is by the use of a wooden paddle across the students clothed posterior. This was done after removing anything found in the back pockets. In rare instances the paddle would be made of perspex or poly carbonate material. Two or three strokes referred to as swats or licks consisted a typical punishment. The offender was required to present his bottom to be disciplined while staying clear of any furniture. The feet were placed well apart to offer stability. 

The preferred method nowadays is having the offender bend over a bench or chair. He may also be required to put his hand on the desk and lean a few degrees forward from the vertical position. This was mainly used for punishing boys. Girls fashion did not allow such form of punishment to be administered to them especially if they are wearing skirts as it would violate their rights and attract a lot of controversies. 

Hands on the wall was also another technique used.The most formal technique was to have the student bend over the back of a chair.His feet would be apart and he would hold onto front for stability. This technique was popularly used for taller and senior students.


Andy Lee spanking with the Paddle in a corporal punishment movie


Coach Andy Dishing Out The Paddle In Locker Room Spanking


Venue of /Person Administering Punishment

In the past physical punishment was administered in the hallways or inside the classroom. Nowadays punishment is administered in a private office away from the public. The culprit is often administered by the principal or assistant principal or at least in their presence. In Texas and Oklahoma the schools have regulations that physical punishment is only by administrators only.The are rules to be followed before administering physical punishment. This specific documentation and bureacratic procedures protects the children from the anger of the teachers. They only get punished for genuine offences.


Who gets Punished?

In 1898 in Cincinnati Ohio, they made it explicit that only boys could be punished. Nowadays, in most place both males and females are punished in schools. There are reports of teenage girls being paddled in Pennyslvania and in 1988 a girls high school demanded to be paddled. They claimed that boys had a choice to choose between physical punishment and detention while girls on the other hand only had detention. This to them was an unfair treatment. Statistics suggests that 75% to 85% of the paddlings administered are for male students. This may be partly becuase boys are more likely to commit punishable offences than there female counterparts.

It has also become a public practice that the punishment is to be administered by or in front of a member of the same sex. This is to protect the female child from fears arising if they were to be spanked by the male teachers.


Punishable Age

Statistics indicate that boys between the age of 13 to 17 are punished more than any other age group. In most American Schools there are no age limits required for physical punishment to be administered. Any body from the age of 4 to 19 is eligible for physical punishment with majority of paddling taking place between the grades of 9 to 12.

Guys bending over to receive the paddle as punishment


Rules and regulations Governing Physical Punishment in American Schools

Many public shools as well as some private schools have laid down rules for administering physical punishments. This rules are published in the school conduct or separately under the school code of conduct. This rules specify which offences warrants physical punishment to be administered, part of the body to be punished and who is responsible for disciplining the offender. They also state if parental consent is necessary and actions to be taken in case the student refuses punishment. Some handbooks also stipulate the number of maximum swats/licks to be delivered.


Punishable Offences

The following offences may warrant physical punishment; fighting, dress code and grooming violations, tardiness, defiance, misbehaviour on school bus, parking/ driving offences, profanity, smoking, bullying, missing detention, skipping Saturday school, violating detention among many others. The offences are normally specified in the school handbook and the number of swats to be received are also indicated.

In the recent times paddling has become a choice for either the student or parent or both. The older teens are normally offered a choice between spanking and detention.

Effects of Physical Punishment on the Student

Paddling effects vary depending on the force applied, and to some extent students size, build and physical resilience. The students usually experience sharp pain that lasts for a while. Paddling if administered accurately leaves the battocks harmlessly bruised for several days and it does not cause bleeding or injury. Paddling may also reult into yelps tears and red faces.


Even though corporal punishment is still present in some American schools the number has dropped significantly throughout the years. Paddling is more common between Kindergarten up to eighth grade while it is less common in high school. Students are hit on the buttocks with a wooden paddle with their hands on a desk or chair in a bent over position. This mostly occur in private confines. 

Studies have shown that paddling lowers school achievement,tendency towards school avoidance, antisocial behavior and may also lead to dropping out of schools. The funny thing is that the federal government has banned physical punishment in prisons but it is still practised in schools. 









Cherylkay | 8th May 2016 00:39
This was an interesting read. As an American and someone old enough to remember when CP was still practiced in schools, I feel pretty qualified to speak about this subject. I attended Catholic school for my first five years and then went to regular public school until I graduated high school in 1979. I attended school exclusively in Illinois, where paddling wasn't outlawed until 1994, much too late for me LOL.

I was a pretty good kid all things considered, yet I still managed to get paddled about a dozen times in grade school and twice in high school. Once when I was in sixth grade, the teacher paddled the whole class. I guess we caught him on a bad day. Anyway, swats (as we called them) were given mostly for things like fighting, smoking, leaving the school grounds without permission or "cutting class" (also called "gypping"). Some teachers paddled for failing to turn in homework, but most preferred to make students write sentences in that situation. Paddling or just spanking students was an almost daily occurance, especially in Catholic School, where the nuns preferred the yardstick. You have to remember that this was the 60s and 70s. No one thought anything of it and no one made a big deal about it. You bent over, took your swats and that was that. I don't know of even one parent who made a fuss over their child getting a paddling as long as it was deserved. And it usually was. All of the kids I went to school with were spanked at home, as were all the kids in my neighborhood. It simply wasn't anything to raise the roof over. In those days, teachers usually had 30-35 students per class. There had to be a way for a teacher, who was always outnumbered, to have control over the class. We knew the ones who paddled hard and without apology. They weren't sadistic, mind you, they just knew that a spanking that didn't hurt wasn't worth avoiding next time.

I'm not sure when this little expose was written, but the "studies" that show that giving a kid an occasional paddling will cause him to be violent or drop out of school or be a bully failed to hold water (at least here in the States) years ago. In fact, Missouri (which used the rattan until 1981) was one of many states that outlawed corporal punishment and within a year, parents and teachers were begging for its return. That happened here in Illinois too, where within a year of getting rid of the paddle, schools became war zones. Kids did as they pleased and no one did anything about it. A teacher didn't even have the authority to tell a kid to be quiet in class. Now there are police at all the schools, even ones like mine that were once considered good schools.

Most children, studies show, want boundaries and rules because these things make them feel safe and assure them that an able person is in charge. All of the acting out we see in schools and homes now is really just kids testing the boundaries. In my day, we knew exactly where they were. We knew the rules in advance and what the consequences would be for breaking them. I think all in all, we were happier, better adjusted kids, who viewed the occasional paddling as a rite of passage and sometimes a point of pride. Were there teachers that went overboard? Occasionally, but they didn't last long. Most got shown the door. Sure, we got up to mischief but even on the occasion when the paddle came out of the desk drawer (or down from its place on the wall) no one made a big production out of it. Many times the teachers would let kids off with a warning for a spankable offense because they didn't feel a spanking was warranted. They were allowed to use their discretion.

I was never afraid of physical punishment. Pain never bothered me that much and getting paddled in front of the class (as we so often were in Catholic School) didn't embarrass me. I felt that as long as I wasn't being singled out, then everything was kosher. It will be interesting to hear other peoples' experiences of this very controversial subject.
Dave - Straight Lads Spanked | 9th May 2016 23:22 (299 weeks ago)
Hi Cheryl,

Thank you so much for your input here. I really enjoyed reading this and about your own personal experiences. I think I was kind of surprised to read that you had a male teacher spanking female pupils. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I just found that interesting.

Thank you so much for sharing. :)
Cherylkay | 10th May 2016 17:01 (299 weeks ago)
Hi Dave :)

It was a different era. what can I say? The male teachers seemed more OK with paddling us than the female ones. Plus, I had enough of those nuns hitting me with a yardstick LOL.
wardcoleman | 11th May 2016 14:07 (298 weeks ago)
Hi Cheryl

Thanks for sharing that, it made an interesting read. Things have certainly changed.

Chiki was saying that some US states, including her home state of Florida, still permit corporal punishment in schools.

I guess yours is one which no longer does, However, back in the day, it would have been widely practiced all over America.

MistressAlex | 12th May 2016 04:15 (298 weeks ago)
Really interesting article Dave! I live in Colorado but cannot say one way or another about the statistics (negligible and enrollment) but I do know that some schools still allow corporal punishment here. My high school used it until the 70s or 80s, I wasn't alive yet so I'm not sure. My favorite teacher used to tell us his stories of paddling kids which always made us feel so happy they couldn't hit us even if we probably deserved it ^_^
Cherylkay | 12th May 2016 20:34 (298 weeks ago)
@Ward, thanks. Glad you enjoyed my comments. There are about 19 states that still allow CP, but even when it's on the books, most schools are hesitant to use it. And yes, although Chicago got rid of CP much earlier, the rest of Illinois continued to get spanked in school until 1994. The bigger cities in every state would outlaw it (as here in America according to our Constitution, those laws not relegated to the Government are enforced by the States) but the more rural areas kept it.

Having gone to school all of my life in a county that used CP, my schoolmates and I had to carefully consider whether the mischief we were about to get up to would be worth the paddling we would surely get if we were caught.
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