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School-based mental health

Advocating for an end to corporal punishment in schools

APA supports legislation that would put a federal ban on corporal punishment in school-based settings.

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American Psychological Association. (2021, June 15). Advocating for an end to corporal punishment in schools.

APA has endorsed the Protecting Our Students in Schools Act (H.R. 3836/S. 2029), which would ban corporal punishment in any school that receives federal funding. The legislation, introduced by Representative A. Donald McEachin, (D-VA), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), establishes a series of enforcement protections, including by the U.S. attorney general and the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, and it authorizes a grant program to improve school climate and reduce exclusionary and harmful discipline practices. The bill aligns with many of APA’s PreK–12 Advocacy Priorities (PDF, 148KB)

Prior to introduction, APA Chief Diversity Officer Maysa Akbar, PhD, ABPP, joined Representative McEachin and Senator Murphy on a press call to discuss the importance of the bill. APA is also working with Div. 37 (Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice) on an upcoming Hill briefing that will discuss both the bill and the impact of corporal punishment on student well-being and learning.  

“As the first professional organization to call for an end to school corporal punishment in 1975, the American Psychological Association applauds Representative McEachin for introducing the Protecting Our Students in Schools Act, which recognizes that corporal punishment is an antiqued and ineffective form of discipline that causes undue injury and psychological trauma,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, CEO of APA (PDF, 712KB). “Corporal punishment disproportionately impacts students of color and students with disabilities and has no place in our schools. Instead, we should be investing in policies that promote positive and safe school climates, increase school-based services that aim to address students’ mental and emotional well-being, and eradicate exclusionary discipline practices.”

For more information, contact Kenneth Polishchuk.