Earlier this year, a viral video made the rounds showing a Georgia school principle paddling a five-year-old student.
The video prompted widespread outrage, but as Jules Suzdaltsev reports in today's Seeker Daily, corporeal punishment in schools is not illegal under federal law.
Many states and school districts have outlawed the practice, however. As of August 2016, 31 states have banned corporeal punishment and 19 allow it to a certain extent, or with permission from a parent or guardian. In 1977, the Supreme Court found that physical discipline does not violate a student's rights, even their freedom from "cruel and unusual punishment."
America has long had ambiguous approach to the physical disciplining of children. The practice of corporeal punishment was brought over by British colonizers and continues to be justified under the common law doctrine of in loco parentis, which gives educators the disciplinary rights and responsibilities of parents.
RELATED: Corporal Punishment Still Used in Thousands of U.S. Schools
American parents don't seem to mind: A 2015 survey concluded that 76 percent of men, and 65 percent of women, approve of spanking. According to the study, those numbers have declined since the 1980s -- but not by much.
So how common is corporeal punishment these days? Federal data suggests that, nationwide, a child is hit every 30 seconds in school. This number increases considerably for black students, who receive corporal punishment at nearly three times the rate of their peers. And according to a 2007 study by the Office for Civil Rights, nearly 42,000 disabled students received corporal punishment over the course of a single school year.
All of this despite the fact that research overwhelmingly suggests that physical force is an ineffective and damaging disciplinary practice. Countless studies have shown that students who are subjected to corporal punishment are more likely to struggle academically and face psychological problems like depression, PTSD and social anxiety later in life.
-- Glenn McDonald
End Corporal Punishment: Corporal punishment of children in the USA
The Atlantic: Where Teachers Are Still Allowed to Spank Students
The Washington Post: 19 states still allow corporal punishment in school
U.S. Department of Education: Rethinking Discipline