Missouri School District Sparks Debate After Bringing Back Spanking as Punishment

Missouri school district reinstates spanking as punishment

Why Do Parents Want Spanking in Schools?

The Missouri School District didn’t bring back the measure all on their own.

According to Superintendent Johnson, “Parents have said ‘why can’t you paddle my student?’ and we’re like ‘We can’t paddle your student, our policy does not support that.'”

“There had been conversation with parents, and there had been requests from parents for us to look into [spanking],” said Johnson.

The Cassville school board decided to change their policy after considering how to deal with some disciplinary issues that were of high concern. They landed on adding “swatting the buttocks with a paddle” back in as an option, with parents’ permission, after investigating the option, along with others.

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The official policy says paddling is only an option “”when all other alternative means of discipline have failed and then only in reasonable form and upon the recommendation of the principal.”

The policy also states, “it 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.”

Apparently, many Cassville parents were pushing for the policy change, and they reacted positively to the school board’s announcement in June.

“We’ve had people actually thank us for it,” explained Johnson.

But he also said, “No one is jumping up and down saying we want to do this because we like to paddle kids. That is not the reason that we would want to do this.”

Of course, they’re also aware that many people outside their community are not in favor of this sort of discipline.

Johnson defended the options by saying, “The positive reinforcement, we love it. That works with a lot of kids. However, some kids play the game, and their behaviors aren’t changing.”

In a live Roundtable discussion of the news, some commenters and parents reacted positively.

One user said, “Someone must have read the Bible! You can’t go wrong with God’s Word!!”

Another said, “Used properly, [spanking] can be a deterrent.”

Now you may be wondering whether it’s even legal.

It is, depending on the state you live in. A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1977 leaves laws on school corporal punishment up to the states; so if it’s legal in Missouri, the school district isn’t breaking the law.

According to the school district, they’ll be monitoring the impact of the new policy throughout the upcoming school year.

Johnson said, “We go back to the drawing board every year and look at what our needs are and reassess and come back with something different, maybe, next year.”

Interested in a roundtable discussion on the topic? Check out this one:

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Jessica Sausto
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Jessica Sausto is a longtime writer and editor of Christian resources, news, and information.