Representatives McEachin and Bonamici Introduce Legislation to End Corporal Punishment in Schools
On Wednesday, Congressman Donald McEachin (D-VA) and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) introduced the Protecting Our Students in Schools Act of 2020. The bill would eliminate the use of corporal punishment in schools that receive federal funding (the practice is currently permitted in 19 states).
The legislation includes provisions for enforcement and a federal grant program to help states and school districts create positive school climates. “I introduced this critical legislation to ensure that all students in federally-funded schools have a safe, healthy, and high-quality learning environment free of this abhorrent policy,” remarked McEachin. He emphasized that corporal punishment is not only harmful and ineffective, but also targets students of color and students with disabilities at disproportionately high rates.
The Council for Exceptional Children was one of over 25 groups that endorsed the legislation:
“[CEC] and its members are committed to evidence-based practices that yield positive results for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities,” said CEC Board President Dr. Jennifer Lesh. She added, “It is widely accepted that the extremely harmful practice of corporal punishment impacts students with disabilities at a disproportionately high rate. I applaud Congressman McEachin for his leadership on this bill and his commitment to banning corporal punishment and reframing the focus to positive behavioral initiatives.”