Our Stance on Corporal Punishment

There’s a nationwide conversation happening about how we discipline our kids. Recent headlines about the child abuse charges lodged against Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson, for example, have sparked considerable debate about when discipline practices such as corporal punishment cross the line into child abuse and to what extent lawmakers should be able to decide how families discipline their children.

We at Committee for Children recognize there are many perspectives on this issue, and we contend that corporal punishment has no place in our schools. We know from the research that when children feel safe and supported, they are ready to learn. This happens in a safe and supportive learning environment, one in which all children feel welcome and respected, engaged and connected, and challenged and valued. This does not and cannot happen in a learning environment in which the threat of physical harm is used to ensure compliance with the rules. So we applaud educators across the country who are using positive, supportive discipline practices such as those outlined in the U.S. Department of Education’s Guiding Principles resource guide, including the recommendation to “[p]romote social and emotional learning to complement academic skills and encourage positive behavior,” (p. 7). Our vision at Committee for Children is “safe children thriving in a peaceful world,” and we believe realizing this vision requires that all children feel safe and supported at school.