Alabama’s largest teacher organization is calling for a complete ban on paddling and other forms of corporal punishment in public schools.
The 650 members of the Delegate Assembly of the Alabama Education Association (AEA) unanimously approved resolution 16-77 on Friday. The resolution said, “AEA recommends all schools ban corporal punishment,” AL.com reported.
President Sheila Remington said there was no discussion or objection prior to the vote.
Members include teachers, administrators, and school support personnel.
Federal civil rights data showed that more than half of Alabama schools paddled in the 2013-2014 school year. According to AL.com, nearly 19,000 students were paddled.
Although 29 states ban corporal punishment in schools, Alabama had the third-highest rate of paddling from 2013-2014, only behind Mississippi and Arkansas.
Remington said the AEA will help teachers find alternative ways of disciplining students that encourage positive behaviors.
The AEA did not take a formal position on passing the resolution for this issue, but Remington called corporal punishment “controversial” and advised teachers to only do so within certain guidelines.
“If legislation is introduced [in the next legislative session] to ban corporal punishment, AEA is now obligated to support that,” Remington said.
State Superintendent Michael Sentance said schools should rethink paddling, and he plans to hold a conference in the spring to explore alternatives.
AEA is an affiliate of the National Education Association, which opposes corporal punishment.
The U.S. Department of Education also called for the banning of corporal punishment in schools nationwide, asking schools to use alternative methods of discipline. Education Secretary John King said teachers’ use of corporal punishment on students could qualify as assault or battery under state law in some states.