Missouri Schools Are Bringing Back Spanking Students As ‘Last Resort’ Punishment

A Missouri school district has announced plans to reinstate paddling this year, a form of corporal punishment it believes is a “last resort” in attempting to control students’ behavior. Cassville School District is roughly 60 miles southwest of Springfield, near the Arkansas border and shockingly, the plan has many supporters among parents.

  1. The school board approved the policy in June. Parents were notified that spanking would be brought back to schools as a form of discipline, despite being abandoned in 2001. The change was made due to parents overwhelmingly answering a survey sent out last year saying they wanted more discipline for students, according to Cassville school superintendent Merlyn Johnson.
  2. Spanking is apparently preferable to suspension. Of course, suspending a child from school doesn’t do much to teach them good behavior, but does spanking? Johnson thinks so. “The complaints that we have heard from some of our parents is that they don’t want their students suspended. They want another option,” he told The Hill. “And so, this was just another option that we could use before we get to that point of suspension.”
  3. Spanking will not be the automatic go-to. According to Johnson, paddling will only be used as a “last resort” if other forms of discipline fail to produce results. It’s said corporal punishment will be used “in reasonable form and upon the recommendation of the principal.”
  4. Parents don’t have to consent to the measure. Those who find the idea of having their kids physically struck in school by adults can sign a form to opt out altogether. Johnson said he’s unsure how many parents would be okay with their children being struck but that forms had been sent out and he should “have a number later in the week,” according to the Springfield News Leader.
  5. Johnson claims parents have been begging him to hit their kids. According to the superintendent, parents have asked him, “Why can’t you paddle my student?” to which he responded that there was no provision for such in the school policy. He added: “There had been conversations with parents and there had been requests from parents for us to look into it.”
  6. There are some caveats around the punishment. Johnson claims paddling will only ever be administered by a school principal and that a witness must be present at all times. It will also never take place in front of other students. “When it becomes necessary to use corporal punishment, it shall be administered so that there can be no chance of bodily injury or harm. Striking a student on the head or face is not permitted,” the policy states, according to the Springfield News-Leader. The punishment can only be given by “swatting the buttocks with a paddle,” with younger students getting “one or two” swings and older students up to three.
Jennifer has been the managing editor of Bolde since its launch in 2014. Before that, she was the founding editor of HelloGiggles and also worked as an entertainment writer for Bustle and Digital Spy. Her work has been published in Bon Appetit, Decider, Vanity Fair, The New York TImes, and many more.
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