According to a study just released, disabled students are subjected to corporal punishment at a far higher rate than other students.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch collaborated on the report entitled “Impairing Education: Corporal Punishment of Students with Disabilities in US Public Schools.”

According to the report, at least 41,972 disabled students were subjected to corporal punishment during the 2006-2007 school year in the 20 states where it is still legal.  And those were only the reported cases. It is likely that many of these discipline measures go unreported.

While “paddling” is the most frequent form of physical discipline, the ACLU and Human Rights Watch discovered numerous instances of  disabled students suffering “beatings, slapping, pinching, being dragged across the room, and being thrown to the floor.”

Even worse, the study found that some of the students were being punished for conduct due to their disabilities, including symptoms like repetitive behaviors such as rocking and tics exhibited by students with Tourettes Syndrome.

The two agencies are calling for a complete ban on corporal punishment.  They are further recommending that the U.S. should comply with international human rights law which holds that corporal punishment only be allowed when absolutely necessary to protect a child.

I would further recommend that Congress stop giving federal money for education to those states which have not yet banned this abusive practice.

It is outrageous that educators be allowed to physically and legally abuse our children.

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