Corporal punishment: Are disabled students singled out?

Georgia remains one of 20 states that allows corporal punishment – typically paddling — in its schools. Now come a new report on how kids with disabilities are disproportionately disciplined.

There has always been great support for corporal punishment here. I’ve listened to many legislative debates where lawmakers declared that they were paddled as kids and deserved every lick. Zell Miller once told me that his mother threatened any whipping at school would be followed by one at home.

According to the report by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch: “The physical discipline, which often includes beatings, can worsen these students’ medical conditions and undermine their education.”

“Students with disabilities already face extra challenges, and being hit by teachers only make it worse,” said Alice Farmer, author of the report. “Corporal punishment is abuse, any way you look at it, and it violates students’ rights to a decent education.”

The report states that students with disabilities made up 18.8 percent of students who suffered corporal punishment at school during the 2006-2007 school year, although they constituted just 13.7 percent of the total nationwide student population. Along with paddling, students with disabilities suffered beatings, spanking, slapping, pinching, being dragged across the room and being thrown to the floor.

The report found that some students were disciplined for conduct caused by their disabilities; students with Tourette syndrome were punished for exhibiting involuntary tics and students with autism for repetitive behaviors such as rocking.  Among the incidents:

Theresa E., whose 5-year-old granddaughter with autism was physically punished at her Georgia elementary school: “You could see the bruising. Her whole arm was swollen by the time she got to the emergency room. Her right arm. The doctor said it looked like she’d been hit by a baseball bat or had been in a motorcycle accident…To this day, I have no idea what they hit her with.”

Michelle R., whose son has Tourette syndrome, which causes involuntary physical tics, was punished for his condition at his public elementary school in Mississippi: “One of his tics was balling up his fists…that was seen as aggression and he would get in trouble with it…He would try to explain that it was a tic, and he couldn’t control it, but they see that as him escalating it…They had a closet and he would go in there and that’s where he was hit.”

Is there really that much coporal punishment in Georgia schools today? And should children with disabilities ever be physically disciplined?

65 comments Add your comment

Fulton Teacher

August 13th, 2009
12:06 pm

I’ve taught in Georgia schools for 14 years and I’ve never heard of corporal punishment being acceptable or legal. I wonder if this is in certain counties. I feel horrible for the person whose son with Tourette’s syndrome was beaten. That is a justifiable law suit if I’ve ever heard of one. It is complete incompetence for his “highly qualified” teachers to not know the difference. And to beat him? Wow! She should seek legal advice!

Sue Jenkins

August 13th, 2009
12:08 pm

No, a student with a known disability such as Tourettes should not be punished the same as a student without.Acually, it is not a punishment but malice on the teacher’s part. These disabilities are due to a brain disorder. They can be somewhat controlled by medication
If a parent is concerned then he or she should go to their child’s school and sit in the class. This is allowed in Georgia schools.

Seen it all

August 13th, 2009
12:26 pm

Corporal punishment does not exist in our schools any more. When I was in school, my first grade teacher would paddle us, but that was 30+ years ago. She actually used a sorority paddle. When I changed schools, they NEVER touched students there. I only saw the principal spank a student one time, but he was crazy anyway. Even back in the 1980’s, touching a student was a no-no.

This business being discussed about “corporal punishment” is incorrect. What they mean to say is “inappropriate conduct by teachers and staff.” If a teacher grabs or hits a student, it is INAPPROPRIATE. I have NEVER hit, grabbed, shoved, or “redirected” a student. Why should other teachers or staff members? I used to work at an ELEMENTARY school where staff members, including the principal, had grabbed, excuse me- “redirected”, students on several occasions. An afterschool worker at this same school also taped the mouth of a student shut to keep him quiet. Why? Because they could and did get away with it.

So people will do things that have nothing to do with their jobs if they are allowed to get away. The same things goes for disabled students. It’s commonly known that most SPED students are treated like black and Latino children. You almost do whatever you want to them and get away with it. After all, aren’t they “defective”, “crippled”, “retarded”, “BD”, “bad”, “special ed”, “LD”, “lazy”, “hardheaded”, etc?


August 13th, 2009
12:33 pm

Thats terrible that kids with disabilities get spanked, but for the regular kids…spank away!

When I was in elementary school, there were always rumors that if you got sent to the principal’s office you would get spanked with a variety of interesting devices. There was teh “electric paddle” which would shock you as you were beaten, and the paddle with holes that allowed the principal to swing it harder, ect…

When I was in the 4th grade, I was finally sent to the principals office and when I got there, she told me to grab the arms of the chair. I closed my eyes and waited to hear the buzzing sound of electricity, but it never came. She pulled out a regular wooden paddle and lightly hit me on the butt about three times. I had tears in my eyes because of the fear, and when she hit me so lightly, I actually started laughing. Hysterically laughing actually. This made her very mad and she promised to call my mother. Oh god, I was terrified, because that meant a REAL paddling was coming. I came home and waited. The call never came.

After that, i was sent to the office 7 times that month. I guess I figured I had the system beat. No calls ever went home to my mother, the paddling was always light, UNTIL, the 7th time. This time, they brought in the P.E. teacher, Coach Youngblood. He gave it to me good. About 10 paddles with the force of Chipper Jones taking one the opposite direction.

Well, that was it. I straightened up and flew right.

So the moral is, if you are going to spank a kid, make it count.


August 13th, 2009
1:14 pm

This report is nothing more than a political action report. You highlighted the key quote, “Corporal punishment is abuse, any way you look at it, and it violates students’ rights to a decent education.”

No student should be subjected to abuse, especially those with disabilities. However, the real agenda here has little to do with the special education population and much more to do with the abolition of corporal punishment. Look out folks, the agenda will not stop at the schools, but it will extend to your homes, too.

Maureen's accountability metric

August 13th, 2009
1:33 pm

Not to minimize incidents that occur, but from a big picture perspective this is a non issue. A far more common issue, one that definitely warrants, but does not receive, serious discussion, is the open disrespect, insubordination, verbal abuse, and even physical assault of teachers that goes unreported, and in far, far too many cases unpunished.

Add to that the documented cases of school systems refusing to process grievances, and refusing to hold tribunal cases as mandated by state law and you have a situation that severely compromises education in this state.

Speaking of refusing to process grievances and violations of state law, Maureen did Crawford Lewis respond to the questions you presented him concerning DeKalb County’s complicity in such matters?


August 13th, 2009
1:34 pm

Yes, I got my mouth taped shut when I was in first grade in 1966. We lived in Chicago. I remember bringing home a note from my teacher that detailed how much talking I was doing and thus they “had to tape my mouth shut…” This was at a private school.

I laugh at this now as I am now an educational consultant and talk to teachers across the country all the time. Guess I recognized my strengths early….hahaha!


August 13th, 2009
1:37 pm

I split my comment as the long posts tend to get lost:

I also NEVER witnessed any corporal punishment, while I taught. Not to say that there were not some students who perhaps needed it…at home.

I was once socked squarely in the stomach by an elementary student. We had a meeting with his parents ( DAD was VP of the local bank in a small town).

It was somewhat interesting as they ( of course) denied any misbehavior. I told them that they may need to have a strong chat with him, because if the next teacher he hit were pregnant…that could be a lawsuit.

They seemed to listen to that statement but who knows how the boy turned out. That was over 20 years ago and I still remember his name….he was 8 or 9.

Joy in Teaching

August 13th, 2009
2:25 pm

There is a distinct difference between abuse and punishment. A properly administered paddling is not abuse. Grabbing a student by the arm is. Some of these darling students seriously need to be punished so that they will have a fighting chance in the world beyond school.

The other day, I actually had a young lady in her 20s complain to me that her boss didn’t understand that she was late to work because she had ADHD and that he actually docked her pay because she was late. She thought that I was a monster because I laughed at her and said, “Welcome to the real world.”

V for Vendetta

August 13th, 2009
3:02 pm

First off, how often does this really happen? I mean honestly? I’ve never seen a teacher bestow physical consequences on a child much less a disabled student. However, we all know that MD has a vendetta (how ironic) against teachers, so it should come as no surprise that she chooses to focus her attention on such a problem rather than the one mentioned by Maureen’s Accountability Metric mentioned. (And MAM is right: Teacher abuse is no doubt a FAR more common occurence.)

Who in their right mind would TOUCH a SPED kid in ANY harmful matter? We’re already afraid of getting lawsuits slapped on us when we’re trying to TEACH them!

Bottom line: Is corporal punishment OK for disabled kids? NO. Is corporal punishment OK for average students? NO. Is holding kids accountable for their actions OK for either group? A most emphatic YES!

Henry Jones

August 13th, 2009
3:09 pm

If I found out someone was paddling a son/daughter of mine that was disabled, said offender would be the one on the receiving end. Yes OH YES…days of confinement in an underground bunker shackled to a wall by a 8 foot chain attached around the ankles with muffler brackets. No light whatsoever with only a dirty mattress and a 5 gallon bucket as a toilet.

Beatings would occur every hour with great relish!!


August 13th, 2009
3:26 pm

Children are not spanked in school anymore. It is legal but it does NOT happen. As far as special students,….. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Schools can’t even suspend a sped child or even look at them cross wise! They can pretty much get away with anything. They are certainly not being struck or spanked.

There is an agenda behind this report as others have already said because this is a crock ….


August 13th, 2009
3:32 pm

This article is a microcosm of what is wrong with our nation today. If a child misbehaves, he needs a spanking. At home and at school. Start early and by the time he/she is in high school, you will have a school full of kids who respect each other and their teachers. Abuse? Give me a freaking break. Kids have choices. If they choose to misbehave or be disrespectful, then they must be taught that there are serious consequences to their actions. If they don’t like the consequences, they’ll learn quickly to think before they act out. Nothing but facts folks.


August 13th, 2009
4:07 pm

Corporal punishment is alive and well in my children’s system (Hall). Several of the principal’s spank surprisingly often. One is even known to do it out in the hallway so the class can hear it.

Seen it all

August 13th, 2009
4:26 pm


You are right on this one. Somebody does seem to have biased opinions towards teachers, but I guess that’s why they put her in charge of the education blog. The AJC is not sympathetic to teachers or schools anyway. What I have seen over the past week is a TON of topics posted, each with some sort of slanted lead-in.

Now there’s supposedly corporal punishment of special education students, on the same day where schools are supposedly forcing teachers to “incorporate” technology, yet won’t provide the necessary resources. In the same breath, the author mentions that there has been “no evidence that the use of technology increases student achievement.” Doesn’t the author’s children use the computer at home? Aren’t they technologically savvy? And didn’t she just suggest a few days ago that the schools should allow students to bring and use cellphones because “they are innovative ways to teach math, record dramatic presentations, document chemical changes and give tests.”

You see, I have been in this game for 11 years now. I have been on the front lines for 7. I have seen, heard, and read a lot of things. I know who’s been in the system and who hasn’t. What I don’t understand is why people who don’t have any experience in education ARE WRITING AS THOUGH THEY ARE EXPERTS. All of these newspapers are notorious at this- New York Times, LA Times, etc. People who have never set foot inside a classroom past their own school experiences writing as if they are experts on all things educational.

Next I guess they are going to tell me how reading should be taught or debate the merits of differentiated instruction in the classroom. It’s the same as me trying to debate quantum physical theory with a professor of physics at Georgia Tech or trying to tell a professor of mathematics at Georgia State how to solve a differential equations problem.

What I don’t like is the hidden agendas and doubletalk.


August 13th, 2009
4:32 pm

Those of you who think this does not happen are fooling yourselves. Google 11-year-old Stefan Ferrari, a non-verbal 11-year-old whose parents won an abuse case against the Atlanta Public Schoolsand the state funded agency Metro RESA. His parents were concerned about bruises and behavior and sewed a small recording device into Stefan’s clothing. Because he is non-verbal, his so-called “teachers” thought they could get away with the abusive things they did to Stefan and his fellow classmates and no one would ever know. It is disgusting. My own son has Asperger’s Syndrome and was subjected to terrible treatment at his first school. We moved him within the county and he is doing MUCH better. But you have to be on your toes and NEVER TRUST ANYONE. Only you have your child’s interests at heart – most school systems just want the kids to toe the line and keep quiet.


August 13th, 2009
4:45 pm

I cannot believe all the redneck comments on here. Hitting a child, for whatever reason, is unacceptable whether it be at home or at school.


August 13th, 2009
4:47 pm

@ seen it all….What I don’t understand is why people who don’t have any experience in education ARE WRITING AS THOUGH THEY ARE EXPERTS…

I participate frequently on MOMANIA. There are those on that blog who ARE NOT NOR EVER HAVE BEEN PARENTS. I tried to point out ( once) that being a parent is not the same as loving kids and working with them. I taught for 5 years before becoming a parent AND THEN THE LIGHTS WENT ON. Same as being a student once and researching schools is not the same as teaching school. I love and collect cook books…this does not mean I am the best cook on the block…mediocre maybe.

BOY was I raked over the coals ….I was told by many ( on MOMANIA) that they have had numerous experiences with children and this would certainly put them on the same level as most parents. HELLO? I simply do not see this and maybe I am wearing some weird blinders here.

I drive a car most days and have driven different cars across the country…does this mean I know as much about them as a mechanic…I would think not…who knows?


August 13th, 2009
5:14 pm

“Google 11-year-old Stefan Ferrari, a non-verbal 11-year-old whose parents won an abuse case against the Atlanta Public Schoolsand the state funded agency Metro RESA.”

Why would a non-verbal 11 year old be in a school? They were not. They were in some type of care-taking institution paid for with dollars we thought were going to education. You are not taking about an actual school or an actual student! It is not right for disabled persons to be beaten by care takers of any kind and we should be outraged that it goes on but this topic does not have anything to do with education!!!! YOU KNOW this and are trying to confuse people who don’t.


August 13th, 2009
5:25 pm

You can read about Stefan’s case against APS at

MAM, I have sent the questions. I will post any responses.

old teach

August 13th, 2009
5:31 pm

I, too never saw any kind of physical punishment in my 32 years of teaching, regardless of the classification / label of the student. I did see, more than once, students pushing, grabbing at and verbally abusing teachers.

Just an experience I had more than once in the middle school in which I taught : I sometimes had to call a parent in the middle of class because of an out of control child. More than once, a parent has said to me,”I’ll be right there.” The mom or dad came to school, burst into my classroom with a belt and began to whip the child, while I was begging them to stop and sending someone to the office for help.

In another instance, I called a parent after school about her son’s behavior [and this has happened only once ] and she raised her voice saying, “Beat him….Beat him any time you feel he needs it !!.” I , of course , explained that I couldn’t do that.


August 13th, 2009
5:36 pm

Laura… an eleven year old who is non verbal is not a student as most people think of a student. They are in a care-facility not a school. They do not have a teacher they have a caregiver. All of these not actual educators, students, and schools being referred to are funded with education dollars so they are called schools. Most people are confused by your tale of the beaten 11 year old and you know this. It is your intention to have the average reader believe your half truth as some dumb kid getting hit by the teacher in front of the smart regular kids.This is not happening and you know it. However wrong, is a different situation all together No one should get beaten retarded or not. But let us be clear what you are talking about does not pertain to actual educators and actual students. You are being very unclear on purpose. This subject while bad does not have anything to do with education.


August 13th, 2009
5:42 pm

Just because you didn’t see it, does not mean that it did not happen. I’m not sure where some of you people come from. I am sure that teacher do suffer abuse by students, and I don’t have to witness these acts to know that they happen. I am also sure that students with disabilities suffer abuse as well. And, under no circumstances, is that appropriate. It is battery. It is a crime.


August 13th, 2009
5:46 pm

Children should never be taught that physical pain is associated with education. This sends the wrong message. If a child is causing a problem they should be removed from the classroom and the parents called. If the parents cannot be reached, then there should be a place for the child to sit and wait that can be observed by an adult.

I think anyone who argues that this is a political ploy or something similar has never had a child in school in today’s environment. We should be ashamed that this kind of abusive behavior continues in our schools and work hard to eliminate it.


August 13th, 2009
5:51 pm

Henry Jones, you’re an idiot.


August 13th, 2009
6:04 pm

I am a regular ed classroom teacher, now teaching in Atlanta. My most recent teaching assignment, before moving to Georgia was in a 98% white school that allowed corporal punishment by the adminstration and teachers as long as you could present documentation of having contacted the parent about any behavior issues. I had very few discipline issues. I rarely paddled. I could teach class and students excelled. Parents expected the teacher to be in charge and they expected their child to come to school and learn. It was totally different atmosphere than I had ever worked in, and totally different than what I work in now. I think students who are chronic disruptions need to be placed somewhere where they cannot interfere with the learning of others and a teacher should not have to take her time beyond a reasonable point when she has made efforts to work with the student and parents. ALL students have the right to learn. No student has the right to disrupt a public classroom.


August 13th, 2009
6:13 pm

Why would a non verbal 11 year old be in school? It is called IDEA (Individuals with Disabilites Education Act) as well as FAPE- Free Appropriate Public Education- this is for ALL students no matter the disability. With that being said I have been in public education for 10 years as a special education teacher and basiclly you are not allowed to do very much as far as discipline goes. They have behavior intervenion plans, goals etc that basiclly forbid you from discilpling them and I do not mean paddling I mean ANY type of discipline if the behavior is considered to be a “Manifestation” of their disability. I truly feel that this is a diservice to our childern and when our taxes go up because we end up supporting these children since they are used to “playing the system” then maybe people will get real about this situation. When I speak of disabilities I want to make it clear that I am talking about EBD students as well as ADHD and NOT REAL disablilities! Students with IQ’s of 70 and below have disabilities and therefore need to be treated differently. Children with low average to average IQ’s can still have a disability such a SLD, EBD or ADHD, but they should still have to play by the same rules as their non- disabled peers.

GA Teacher

August 13th, 2009
6:17 pm

At my school (middle school), corporal punishment is allowed, but only by an administrator of the same sex and in the presence of 2 other adults with the parent’s consent. Therefore, it is used rather rarely because it is difficult to arrange all of that. More often, I call home and the parent comes to school and asks me to leave or just tells me over the phone that their child will get a whipping when they get home. I approve of corporal punishment by parents whole-heartedly, but in the school, I think it may have a place with some children, but on most it is ineffective.

…and no, believing that it is okay to spank a child doesn’t make me an ignorant redneck. The whole problem with children is that we have worked so hard on their self-esteem and we should be focused on self-control and self-relience.

Gwinnett citizen

August 13th, 2009
6:23 pm

Corporal punishment may be legal in the state of GA, but each school system determines its own policy. I don’t know of one metro school system that allows corporal punishment. Maybe this is something that still occurs in the smaller systems? Not sure.
In my middle school, teachers were told not to touch students under any circumstances, just to eliminate any doubt of intentions. While teachers who work with certain groups of special needs children have many circumstances where physical contact is necessary and appropriate, most of the “regular” teachers keep our hands to ourselves. Even a pat on the back for good work is discouraged.


August 13th, 2009
6:47 pm

37 years ago corporal punishment was alive and well where I teach. There was a teacher down the hall who “taught” MID kids. She would whip them if they missed spelling words. I went to my principal and told him I would not “witness” for her, and that she needed to stay away from me.

I think currently the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. We have NOTHING to use to mold student behavior. Kids cannot be held accountable, grade wise or by missing recess, for not doing assignments,much less terrible misbehaviors. Some sp ed students routinely assault their peers or teachers and it is excused as part of their disability. I’m sorry, but even a dog can learn not to bite! No child should have a discipline referral folder an inch thick!

While I am sure there are cases of abuse OF sp ed students, I would venture that there are many more cases of abuse BY sp ed students (and others as well, of course). Until the parents of those victimized by assault by sp ed students ardently pursue legal action, this will continue. As I said, almost any person with a sentient IQ can learn NOT to strike others, spit, kick, pinch, etc.. It handicaps them to give them an excuse.

And to KiKi: I taught 3 totally non-verbal children for 2 years. One was not toilet trained, either (they were 13-14 years old) and none of the girls could handle their own menstural needs. This was in the public school. We have kids who are immobile, kids who have to be catherized, kids who have feeding tubes. Kids who have seizures and stop breathing. Come visit school sometime!

BTW, I have no problem with corporal punishment for my own children if/when they misbehaved in school. I paddled my own daughter (in my class, after talking to the principal) for grabbing a boy who was bothering her by the throat. She certainly never did anything like that again.

This is merely my opinion, and you may disagree as you wish.

V for Vendetta

August 13th, 2009
6:50 pm



Thanks to people like you, we have IDEA and FAPE. We are all in your debt.


August 13th, 2009
7:09 pm

I graduated freom high school in 1966 in Georgia. Believe me, corporal punishment was alive and well my entire school experience. I didn’t have children until I was 31, and by the time my kids (3..3years apart) were in school I was in my mid forties. The paddling had stopped but the mental/emotional abuse was still there. I dealt with the administrators quietly and privately; I was pleased with the results. When I was a child, teachers were heavy-handed thugs, and the students suffered. Now, students are heavy-handed thugs, I guess what goes around does come around.


August 13th, 2009
7:12 pm

I have 2 children with Downs Syndrome in public schools here in Georgia. We just moved here from Florida over a year ago…where they DO NOT allow any type of physical punishment towards a child, whether they be disabled or not. Tell me or their mom and we will handle whatever problem arises, we’ll even go to school and work with the teachers, aides and parapros. Let there be NO MISTAKE, if someone lays as much as a finger on one of my children……give your soul to God…because you will soon be seeing Him. A teacher is to be ADMIRED! But they are not a sub. for me or my wife…they have phones as do we…make a call and we’ll be there. Nobody, but NOBODY whips, pinches, strikes or physically does anything to my children. Not a threat as some will assume it is, just plain old damn fact.


August 13th, 2009
7:53 pm

The small school system I grew up in down in south GA just banned corporal punishment last year (before that it was admins only with parental permission, but I think it became exceedingly rare several years before being officially banned). Just out of curiosity for those few of you in systems that still allow corporal punishment — is an administrator required to comply with the policy? That is to say if they are personally against physical punishment, but the school system deems it appropriate, are they expected to paddle as part of their job duties or can they refuse?


August 13th, 2009
7:54 pm

It is an option at our school. The student can be suspended or take a lick for each day of suspension. The parent makes the choice and must be present and must sign a form. Has cut down on a lot of suspensions.


August 13th, 2009
8:12 pm

My daughter was in special ed. in public schools and yes, abuse does happen. I don’t know if teachers think the children can’t tell what happens at school or what but my daughter had several incidents occur over the years. In 1st grade her teacher slapped her leg because she wouldn’t stay on her cot, in 3rd grade a teachers aide banged her head into the gym wall(yes,she admitted to it) and several times she came home with bruises on her back or arms when a sub was in the classroom. I’ve seen teachers handle the special needs kids very rough-grabbing their arms hard, pushing them and putting them in their seats very hard.


August 13th, 2009
8:13 pm

Tell me, what’s worse for kids: using corporal punishment or removing them from the classroom? As an administrator, if I have the option of giving three swats from a paddle and sending them back to class or three days of in-school or out-of-school suspension, I say go for the paddle. Kids who are suspsended are losing valuable instructional time…not to mention the huge inconvenience on teachers who have to try to catch them up.

Being removed from the classroom is much more detrimental in the long run and the ever increasing reliance on high stakes testing is further reason to keep kids in the class. Say what you will, paddling has a place in school and could be the best form of punishment for some kids.


August 13th, 2009
8:48 pm

It is clear ATLien052 you don’t have a child with a disability. I can take what ever was dished out when I was in school. I screwed around and got my licks, but my children have Downs Syndrome and do not have a full grasp on EVERYTHING right and wrong. Firm verbal correction along with parental responsibility is what’s needed. I say if a kid is “normal” then hell yeah whip has @$$. But when you have a 18 year old with the mentality of a sub 13 year year old…..look before you leap. nI am a good dad, I try to teach my children every day the difference between right and wrong. But, for a non-parent to use physical contact in a negative way to correct my child will NOT work. I am a retired doctor who spends every minute I can with my children. Neg. contact is just that….negative….
Teachers who see this….DON’T DO IT!!!!! Parents who see this, DO YOU JOBS!!!!!
If you need to talk to someone about what is right and proper with these ANGELS…..either talk with GOD or write me….Talk with GOD FIRST!!!!!!

calling you out Seen It

August 13th, 2009
9:08 pm

“Next I guess they are going to tell me how reading should be taught or debate the merits of differentiated instruction in the classroom. It’s the same as me trying to debate quantum physical theory with a professor of physics at Georgia Tech or trying to tell a professor of mathematics at Georgia State how to solve a differential equations problem.”

That’s brilliant Seen It All. You think so highly of your profession of teaching that you equate it with being as difficult as debating quantum physics with a GA Tech professor. This could be an indication of why parents have a problem with public school teachers — too much EGO!


August 13th, 2009
10:41 pm

For those of you who are ‘deniers’ that this is a problem, I myself did an open records request on the state of Georgia. One county in all of Georgia recorded and documented over 2000 ‘corporal punishments’. Please tell me how this is working for them? If it worked, I am quite certain 2000 would not be necessary.

Corporal Punishment is an abhorrent practice that needs to be abolished. Oddly the State DOE is silent on this issue….why? By all the latest research by many learned professionals, to include physicians, child health and welfare experts ..corporal punishment causes more harm than good. We as Georgians should be ashamed…I know I am.

Please – write to congress and tell them to tie NCLB, IDEA into a national ban and encourage Positive Behavioral supports in your own district. The ACLU has a 10 point plan to prevent your child from being corporally punishment.. just check it out on their website.

It will take an act of Congress to fix this problem.. and yes it is a problem.. Along with restraint and seclusion of special ed students – where there are no state laws governing those practices either


August 13th, 2009
11:06 pm

And…I should have said.. I would love to see all you eductors that says a paddling has its place to testify in a hearingin front of the lawmakers . My guess is that if you attempted to bring the tool of the trade (a paddle) you would not be allowed in the government building because it would be considered a weapon.

If Georgia educators can’t educate without paddling (I don’t care if there is parent permission or not) perhaps another line of work is in order..seriously.

30 other states know how to educate without hitting, why can’t we. And let me ask the administrator on here – suppose the child was undergoing testing and had a not-yet-determined medical or neurological disorder (these things take very long to diagnose), would you say then that hitting is the answer? I would hope not.

What if the child has an underlying medical condition- such as hemophilia (bleeding disorder) and ends up with a hematoma or serious injury. There is no way to prevent an injury. Do you people go to school to learn how not to hurt a child with a paddle? I think not. Please stop the hitting and learn a better way. There are tons of resources online! No excuse


August 13th, 2009
11:27 pm

In the Augusta Chronicle a report was published with statistics of several school districts.. see report here:

And then in another publication – a child was reportedly injured in south Georgia – in the Post Searchlight – that story was published in Feb 2009


August 14th, 2009
6:43 am

A SHOCKING Children’s Civil Rights INEQUALITY exists in 21st Century Classrooms! The FACT is that Corporal or Physical Punishment is ILLEGAL IN SCHOOLS in 30 STATES, in contrast to being practiced frequently in SCHOOLS for minor infractions such as not turning in homework, without parental consent or notification in the remaining 20 states. SHOCKING news headlines of injuries suffered by children abused by school employees in states where the practice is legal are all too common! Physical or Corporal Punishment is HEAVILY ASSOCIATED WITH THE PORNOGRAPHY INDUSTRY, just type corporal punishment or spanking into any internet search engine to verify. There is a PUBLICLY FUNDED CHARTER SCHOOL, the Memphis Academy of Health Sciences that made news headlines recently for disciplining Middle/High School students (girls too) during an assembly called “Chapel” where students are taken on a stage and hit with a wooden paddle by their 6′6” former football player principal and/or have their hands whipped with leather straps IN FRONT OF ALL THE OTHER STUDENTS AS A DETERRENT TO PUBLICLY INDUCE SHAME/HUMILIATION AND FEAR AS AN INTIMIDATION TACTIC! The “Educators” and “Administrators” of this PUBLICLY FUNDED CHARTER SCHOOL state their “Discipline” practices are within Tennessee State Laws! U.S. Congress is currently holding hearings on Abusive and DEADLY (kids have died at the hands of government employees entrusted with their care and education in our tax payer funded schools) practices in SCHOOLS and must take immediate action to ABOLISH CORPORAL PUNISHMENT OF ALL CHILDREN IN ALL SCHOOLS! There is NO EXCUSE for any “Educator” to hit a child with a weapon/wooden paddle as PUNISHMENT when credible professional educators who have EARNED RESPECT effectively “DISCIPLINE” by teaching children with reasonable and fair consequences everyday in schools the 30 states where Corporal Punishment is ILLEGAL! State Departments of Education promote the EFFECTIVENESS and training for educators in NON-VIOLENT Discipline methods, such as Schoolwide Behavior Support Systems. Think about it, we teach children that hitting is not acceptable, but when an adult entrusted with their care and education hits them, they powerfully model physical assault/violence to our children as the acceptable means to solve problems. Children learn by example, what you do, not what you say. Children who are physically punished, like an animal, will become withdrawn, disengaged and fearful or mean, violent and retaliative at society. If you love your children, show them, tell them, support them, teach them, DO NOT HIT THEM!

Theresa Edwards

August 14th, 2009
6:55 am

I would like to Thank the AJC for covering this story. As for some of the comments on this site I CAN ASSURE you that the assualts to our sped children are real and alive in Georgia. We parents are not bashing all teachers just the ones in the system who shouldn’t be there. I am the parent Theresa E. that is in this report and what was done to my granddaughter/daughter would never be allowed to happen to an animal. PETA and The Humane Society would be up in arms and screaming for Justice, but for the many thousands of children who are living this nightmare the only people they have are us. We are there voices, as for the comments that the Ferrari case was not a teacher but a caretaker, listen to the testimony she was a teacher. Our children may not communicate the way you consider communication but they deserve to be educated just like all citizens of The United States of America. If given a chance they can and will succeed. My baby is Autistic and she was restrained, locked in a room that the teacher called “The Jail Room”, she was denied the use of the restroom, struck numerous times, denied food. She was only five years old at the time. Imagine a child who knows nothing of skin color only to be taught racial hatred. It has been six years since my baby went through this and to this day she still asks “WHY DID THEY HURT ME?”The title corporal punishment is misleading if the crimes that are being perpetrated to our most precious resource were being done to an adult it is called Assualt and Battery and you will be charged. Here in the state fo Georgia teachers have “Sovereign Immunity” and know they can get away with it and that they are protected. If you don’t believe this please look it up on O.C.G.A. For any person who wishes to hear and read the TRUTH please feel free to contact me at


August 14th, 2009
8:29 am

When I was in school in the 50’s and 60’s we had corporal punishment! You knew that if you got sent to the office you might get paddled. If you did get paddled your parents were notified and usually that meant a worse paddling at home. because of this we had VERY FEW incidents in schools. I went to school in Birmingham and later in Atlanta! People that aren’t punished early in life usually grow up to be bullies or spoiled brats. It is even in our Bible ” Spare the rod( discipline) and you spoil the child. Discipline teaches our children to respect their parents and other people of authority! When children respect their teachers there is seldom a need to paddle. Note, there is a difference in discipline and punishment. Our society has gotten away from both and that is why our society is going down the drain!


August 14th, 2009
9:27 am

During certain times in our history we use to lynch people because of the color of their skin, but that did not make it right. Spare the rod and spoil the child? What about “Suffer the little children not for they belong to the Lord?” Children with special needs may have the cognition, mental capacity to fully understand what is even expected of them or the consequences. People must not forget that the brain controls our behaviors for the most part, and if a child’s neurological, biological, or genetic make up is presenting more of a challenge to teachers, then the teacher must understand they are dealing with a child, not Pavlov’s dog. Which brings me to another point. We see animal trainers using posititive reinforcements like dog food, fish for Shamu, carrots for horses, a toy for kitty, or even a piece of cheese for a rat. Thus, why is it we hit children with a stick to train or teach them behaviors we prefer?


August 14th, 2009
9:46 am

Now, what if we forget all of the subjective arguments surrounding hitting children in the education process. I am curious if any of you have ever wondered what the academic pay off is when we spank kids in school. Recently I compared corporal punishment data from Pat Mills, GDOE legal analysst, to adequate yearly progress for Georgia School disticts. The results showed that school districts that spank are less likely to make adequate levels of achievement over a one year period. CIty and County school districts in Georgia that did not spank were more likely to make adequate yearly progress. Although we utilize spanking in school and collect the data in the education process, the data is not analyzed to determine if it is a best practice or not. Why do you suppose we do not want to know the academic impact spanking has on our children? Perhaps it is the soft bigotry of “institionalized” bias/prejudice that gaurantees the success of some students while sealing the fate of other students.

old teach

August 14th, 2009
9:53 am

Your comparison is interesting. However, Correlation DOES NOT mean causation ! I am not in favor of physical punishment but other variables may account for the correlation you got. For example, there may also be a correlation with the schools’ economic stats, or with the number of nonEnglish speaking students or with any other of a number of variables that may result in not making adequate yearly progress.


August 14th, 2009
10:50 am

You are correct Old teach about causation vs. correlation. However, studies are primarily correlation with a certain amount (95-99% confidence). My study is like other quasi researchers in which the research is spark other research on a theory. In this case it makes way for other research to do a more controlled study to rule out confounds as those you stated, economic stats, esol. Such experiments may be difficult to ever conclude causation, but I would challenge anyone to share such research, only because there is ALWAYS chance….
The point being, the data should be analyzed and then put back into the process to improve the outcome. Basic systems approach…input + process= outcome+ feedback(data analysis), which is then put into the systsm + processes(altered)=a better outcome for the students.


August 14th, 2009
11:11 am

You are correct Old teach about correlation. Keep in mind, correlation has a component of a certain percentage of confidence, 95-99% to be accepted in the scientific community. However, I have not come across research that is proven causation because of the “Chance” factor. My quasi research was to see if a correlation might exist. However, like any research it is up for duplication and further research, hopefully from the GDOE. Using secondary data vs. creating a controlled environment might prove to be unethical this day and age regarding the affects of spanking, which I’m sure you understand. Also, those cognitively impaired and take the GAA (no less than 2% of a district’s total population) are not counted against the the school districts.
The point being, yes, there are confounds like economic stats, ESOL kids, and other variables in the research. However, as a taxpayer and quasi researcher I would like the decision makers to use the spanking data collected be used to improve the education process. For instance a basic systems approach is input + process= outcome, then one gathers feedback from stakeholders and then puts it all back into the system : input + process= a better educational outcome and they system continues until the best product is produced.
If we spank in school doesn’t it only make sense it is to enhance the academic progress? Perhaps it is time for Georgia to include language in the Ga. Constitution to hold parents responsible for their children’s education progress, discipline, nurturing, and basic needs being met. Parents will have the children their whole lives, whereas a school system has them at a minimum from 6-16 yrs. In the end, parents will pay the bondsman, lawyer or college, not a principal, BOE, or teacher. (rightfully so) Thus, doesn’t it only make sense that parents be part of the basic approach to the school system?