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Nov 24, 2016 07:53 AM EST

Education Secretary Wants Schools To Stop Use Of Corporal Punishment

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John B. King Jr., U.S. Department of Education Secretary, has urged states to ban corporal punishment in schools. There are still a lot of schools using this traditional practice.

Fox News reported that King wrote a letter to governors and school leaders on Tuesday. He urged them to use positive methods of correcting or addressing behavior instead of using physical force.

According to U.S. News, corporal punishment includes paddling, spanking or hitting students. The practice is allowed in 22 states. However, it is considered ineffective and harmful to children.

"Our schools are bound by a sacred trust to safeguard the wellbeing, safety and extraordinary potential of the children and youth within the communities they serve," King said in a statement. "No school can be considered safe or supportive if its students are fearful of being physically punished."

A 2013 study by Elizabeth T. Gershoff revealed how spanking is "a form of violence against children." She also noted that this practice should no longer be a part of American childrearing.

The study found that spanking was associated with an increase in mental health problems in childhood and adulthood. It also increased the likelihood of delinquent behavior for children and criminal behavior in adulthood.

"Not only does corporal punishment inflict pain and injury, it also stifles students' ability to learn," Fatima Goss Graves, a senior vice president at the National Women's Law Center, said. "Policymakers must eradicate violence against schoolchildren and instead foster learning environments that are safe and productive."

King also noted that corporal punishment is disproportionately applied to students. Boys =, children of color and kids with disabilities are more likely to be physically punished.

"The use of corporal punishment can hinder the creation of a positive school climate," King wrote in the letter. "Corporal punishment also teaches students that physical force is an acceptable means of solving problems, undermining efforts to promote nonviolent techniques for conflict resolution."

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