If you are a millennial, you may have heard your parents talk about how they were physically disciplined for bad behavior in school. Myself having a white mother and black father, both of mine parents experience getting paddled or slapped on the hand with rulers if they misbehaved in class. While that may not be the norm in today’s schools, it is not entirely against the law for schools to practice this.
That is one mother from Alabama learned as she received a permission slip from the school her daughter attended asking permission to use “corporal punishment” on her child. As many of you who are reading this might be stunned, you will also be to know that 19 states allow corporal punishment in schools.
Before you jump on the corporal bandwagon here is some statics about the use of this method on black students. A study using data from 2011-2012 U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights found “black children are disproportionately at the receiving ends of these punishments, even though white children are typically more likely to attend a school that allows the practice, the study found.”
In over half of Alabama and Mississippi school districts, black children are 51 percent more likely to get hit by school teachers. A Fifth of those districts, black students are over 500 percent more likely to get physically disciplined. Separating gender, boys are 75 percent more likely to get hit.
Study author Sarah Font, an assistant professor of sociology, said she found the results somewhat unpredictable.
“I think what really surprised me was the extent of the gap between both black and white students and male and female students. It was so excessive,” said Font. “We’re hoping to draw attention to the fact that this is still happening, and just like a lot of other forms of school discipline, is used discriminatorily in regards to race and disability.”