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Largest Teacher Organization in State with Third Highest Rate of Corporal Punishment Calls for Ban

The Alabama Education Association (AEA), the largest teacher organization in Alabama, a state recently exposed for being the state with the third highest rate of corporal punishment in schools, has passed a resolution supporting a universal ban on such forms of punishment.

According to AL.com, analysis of federal civil rights data indicates that more than 19,000 students were paddled in the 2013-2014 school year in more than half of Alabama schools.

While AL.com has been tracking corporal punishment in Alabama for some time, a recent U.S. Department of Education guidance from last month sparked a national conversation about the issue.

For those living in the 28 states that have banned corporal punishment, the fact that 22 states still allow paddling in schools was particularly shocking.

"Notably, the very acts of corporal punishment that are permissible when applied to children in schools under some state laws would be prohibited as criminal assault or battery when applied to adults in the community in those very same states," Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. said in the guidance.

Further, King noted that corporal punishment is disproportionately inflicted on students because of their race, national origin, sex, and/or disability status.

"Based on the 2013-2014 CRDC, approximately 40,000 — or more than one-third — of those students who were subjected to corporal punishment are black; black students, by comparison, make up only 16 percent of the total public school student population," King said.

AEA’s formal position against corporal punishment will help the organization unite to help state teachers "learn alternative ways to discipline students that encourage positive behaviors," said AL.com.

It seems as if state policy leaders are also on board to implement change by banning the controversial disciplinary practices.

"In the state of Alabama, corporal punishment is a decision that is made by local school boards and I respect their authority to make that decision. However, a growing amount of research-based evidence suggests there is no correlation between the use of corporal punishment and increased student achievement. There are multiple ways to positively impact student behavior - it may be time to consider alternatives," said State Superintendent Michael Sentance in a statement to AL.com.

Sentance will be holding a conference in the spring to discuss what these alternatives might be.

Read the full story.

 

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Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

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