Missouri School District Reinstates ‘Corporal Punishment’

Back view of elementary student raising arm in order to answer a questing during a class.
Drazen Zigic/Getty Images

Cassville School District in Missouri has decided to bring back “corporal punishment” as a form of discipline for misbehaving students.

Students could be punished with paddles under the new policy that administrators say is a last resort form of correction.

According to KOLR 10 News, the new policy came about as a result of a survey sent out to parents last year in which respondents named discipline as a top concern.

Superintendent Dr. Meryl Johnson said the policy change is in response to parents identifying suspensions as a large concern. Johnson said the new form of punishment could keep children in classrooms.

“The complaints that we have heard from some of our parents is that they don’t want their students suspended. They want another option,” Johnson said. “And so, this was just another option that we could use before we get to that point of suspension.”

According to the policy, students will only be able to receive such punishment if parents opt them in.

The outlet also reported that some students opted for the style of discipline, to the surprise of some parents.

“You know, I feel like if they had a different outlet like counseling services and school instead of corporal punishment, that would be the more appropriate answer,” parent of three Miranda Waltrip said. “At the end of the day they are having to hold the child down and spank them or use whatever means that they can to make the child submissive when that is not the issue, it is the fact that they need to be heard because children act out for varied reasons.”

“We live in a really small community where people were raised a certain way and they’re kind of blanketed in that fact that they grew up having discipline and swats,” she continued. “And so, for them, it’s like going back to the good old days but it’s not because it’s going to do more harm than good at the end of the day.”

Cassville is a town of about 4,000 persons that Johnson describes as a “very traditional community in southwest Missouri.”

“Parents have said ‘why can’t you paddle my student?’ and we’re like ‘We can’t paddle your student, our policy does not support that,'” he said, according to the Springfield News-Leader. “There had been conversation with parents and there had been requests from parents for us to look into it.”

“We’ve had people actually thank us for it,” he continued. “Surprisingly, those on social media would probably be appalled to hear us say these things but the majority of people that I’ve run into have been supportive.”

“Corporal punishment will be used only when other means of discipline have failed and then only in reasonable form, when the principal approves it,” Johnson said.

Missouri is one of 19 states that still allow corporal punishment. The others states that allow it are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.

Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.


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