Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates
Corporal punishment does not create a more orderly learning environment. It does not change behavior. What it does do is traumatize kids, and it actually creates school climates that are less orderly and disciplined. That is why we so enthusiastically commend the House Education Committee for its courageous step today in passing House Bill 22, sponsored by Representative Steve Riley, to eliminate the use of corporal punishment in schools.
While the vast majority of Kentucky school districts are shifting their focus to how to best serve children who’ve experienced trauma, corporal punishment is still allowed in dozens of schoolhouses around the state as a form of physical discipline, amounting to 284 incidences last school year. And we would assert that one incident of an adult hitting a kid in school is one too many. Instead of building a positive climate in which to learn, corporal punishment reinforces physical aggression and creates a threatening atmosphere that permeates school culture. This arcane and misguided form of punishment has immediate and long-term impacts on the child’s physical and mental health, behavior, and educational outcomes.
We applaud Representative Riley for championing this commonsense safety measure and thank Chairwoman Regina Huff and members of the House Education Committee for supporting it. We now call on the full Kentucky House to support House Bill 22.
Stay up-to-date on Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children priorities and other bills that are good for kids on our Kentucky General Assembly Bill Tracker.
About Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at www.kyyouth.org.