School Discipline Update: April 2011

Last Updated: April 27, 2011

This article appeared in the April 2011 Rural Policy Matters.

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Several States Move to Ban Corporal Punishment in Schools

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Across the country community groups and others concerned about young people have begun to push back against the growing trend for schools to use severe and punitive discipline in response to non-violent student misbehavior. Addressing school discipline, especially harsh punishments that push students out of school, has been identified as a major concern of many rural community residents. This occasional series highlights some of the most basic issues in the national conversation about school discipline.


The state of New Mexico has just banned corporal punishment in its public schools, reducing the number of states where paddling is still legal to 19. State Senator Cynthia Nava of Las Cruces, who is also superintendent of the Gadsen School District, co-sponsored the legislation. Voting on the bill was largely divided along party lines in both houses, although Republican Governor Susana Martinez disagreed with most members of her party in her support of the bill.

Read more:

Coverage of the New Mexico ban:


Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban corporal punishment in schools. The bipartisan legislation was proposed by a veteran educator now serving in the Texas State House of Representative and a freshman Representative who has served on her local school board. The legislators are seeking a complete ban but have also proposed an alternate bill that would only allow schools to paddle students after receiving written permission from parents.

Coverage of the Texas proposals:

Other coverage:

Read more from the April 2011 Rural Policy Matters.