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UPDATED: Spanking in Schools: Is It Legal in the KC Metro Area?

Image credit: anelina / 123RF Stock Photo

Corporal punishment in U.S. public schools was a featured topic on today’s Talk of the Nation program on National Public Radio.

The program participants brought up the fact that in 19 states, it is still legal to spank students. The rest of the states have laws against such corporal punishment.

Let’s test your knowledge about whether spanking students is a legal form of discipline in our region.

Tomorrow I’ll let you know whether you were right or not. (Of course, in the meantime, you could always Google it.)

UPDATE: And the answer is … Yes, both Kansas and Missouri are among the minority of states in which spanking (officially called “corporal punishment” in discipline reports) is still legal in public schools.

Just because spanking is legal, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean schools use it. After all, this old-fashioned method of discipline is opposed by organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Bar Association and the National Association for State Boards of Education.

Nevertheless, four of 28 school districts in the Kansas City metropolitan area have reported recent use of corporal punishment. Those four are:

  • Blue Valley Unified School District
  • Shawnee Mission School District
  • Turner Unified School District
  • Belton School District.

This information is based on the most recent reports available, which are from the 2009-10 school year. Schools are required to report their use of corporal punishment to the federal government, and the U.S. Department of Education made this information available to the public at the end of last year.

Because the federal government collects such reports from only a representative sample, however, information is not available for nine local districts. The remaining 15 districts reported no use of corporal punishment in the 2009-10 school year.


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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.


2 thoughts on “UPDATED: Spanking in Schools: Is It Legal in the KC Metro Area?

  1. I am shocked at Blue Valley. I worked at Leawood Middle School for over 12 years and it was NOT acceptable or permittted at that school! EVER! That was under the leadership of Dr. Jim Gill.

    Posted by Janet Reynolds | September 13, 2012, 12:55 pm
    Reply to this comment
  2. Blue Valley and Shawnee Mission surprised me, as well. Traditional wisdom is that the vestiges of spanking in public schools are a rural problem. But the practice evidently continues in the suburbs and the city.

    Posted by jwmartinez | September 13, 2012, 3:22 pm
    Reply to this comment

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