Today, Kentucky Youth Advocates released a new issue brief, “Ending Corporal Punishment in Kentucky Public Schools.” Kentucky is one of 19 states that still permit the use of corporal punishment in public schools. The issue brief highlights the negative consequences corporal punishment has on students, the disproportionate use with certain student populations, and alternative approaches to school discipine that are more effective and can improve outcomes for all children.
In Kentucky, local boards of education determine the exact guidelines for use of corporal punishment in their districts, meaning that children are at differing risks of corporal punishment depending on the school district in which they live. Some children are also more likely to experience corporal punishment based on their gender, age, socioeconomic status and special educational needs. For example, in school year 2009-2010:
- Kentucky public school students with special education needs made up 13 percent of the total student population, but 38 percent of corporal punishment incidences involved these students.
- Nearly 9 out of 10 occurrences of corporal punishment involved male students.
- The vast majority of students receiving corporal punishment (64 percent) were in Kindergarten through 5th grade.
- Low-income families eligible for free or reduced-price meals were overrepresented at 81 percent.