Ask Cassville R-IV School District Missouri to Abolish Archaic Corporal Punishment Policy

Ask Cassville R-IV School District Missouri to Abolish Archaic Corporal Punishment Policy

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US Alliance to End the Hitting of Children started this petition to The Board of Cassville R-IV School District Dr. Merlyn Johnson

The Cassville R-IV School District in Missouri has voted to adopt “the use of physical force as a method of correcting student behavior.” Reading Policy JGA-1: CORPORAL PUNISHMENT, we see that the punishment “shall be used only when all other alternative means of discipline have failed, and then only in reasonable form and upon the recommendation of the principal. It should never be inflicted in the presence of other students”.

Further, the policy gives parents the choice to opt-in to paddling or spanking as a punishment. Interestingly, the policy further states that punishment “shall be administered so that there can be no chance of bodily injury or harm. Striking a student on the head or face is not permitted.”

Yet, according to the ACLU “Corporal punishment can cause deep bruising or other lasting physical or mental injury.” Bodily injury or harm is being intentionally inflicted on school children. Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff, a professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, explains that if one adult were to paddle another with a wooden board, it would be considered assault.

We say “NO!” to any form of corporal punishment! The dangers and ineffectiveness of this method of discipline - which are in fact state-sanctioned violence against children - have been documented in over 1,500 studies!

A 2021 study supported by the National Institute of Mental Health and conducted at the Harvard University Department of Psychology revealed several similarities between the negative impact of spanking and other forms of child abuse. This finding is in line with other research showing that spanking is linked to various developmental problems, including brain damage. The American Academy of Pediatrics outlines many of the developmental problems in their 2018 policy statement against corporal punishment. 

Dr. Katie A. McLaughlin, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and the leader researcher on the study, says that children who come from homes where corporal punishment is used as a punishment are “more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems.” She continues “but many people don’t think about spanking as a form of violence”.

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IS CERTAINLY A FORM OF VIOLENCE!

Spanking, paddling, and other forms of physical punishment show children that it is acceptable for the adults in their lives to cause them physical pain or discomfort, which may impact their ability to report or resist other incidences of abuse. 

Further, there is research that strongly suggests that “mass shooters overwhelmingly fit a certain profile... early childhood trauma [corporal punishment] seems to be the foundation."

The Board of the Cassville R-IV School District is given and has accepted the moral and ethical mandate to deliver to their students the knowledge and developmental experience needed to equip them for higher education and work life. As corporal punishment is shown to lead to various mental health and behavioral problems, it is counter-intuitive, and downright harmful to inflict physical punishment on students.

To the Board of Cassville R-IV School District:

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IS A FAILING POLICY THAT DOES NOT MODEL THE RIGHT ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS FOR MISSOURI CHILDREN! IT HURTS THEM AND DOES NOT NURTURE NOR PROTECT THEM. WE ASK YOU TO RESCIND THIS ARCHAIC POLICY AND IMPLEMENT POSITIVE AND RESTORATIVE DISCIPLINE METHODS THAT DO NOT EQUATE TO OUR CHILDREN EXPERIENCING STATE-SANCTIONED VIOLENCE AND ABUSE BY THOSE WHO ARE MORALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR PROTECTING THEIR HEALTH, SAFETY, AND WELFARE. 

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