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Corporal Punishment in the United States: A Call for a New Approach to the Prosecution of Disciplinarians

NCJ Number
Journal of Juvenile Law Volume: 15 Dated: (1994) Pages: 22-56
V I Vieth
Date Published
35 pages
Most State laws permit disciplinarians to administer corporal punishment, or the reasonable use of force, to children.
The use of corporal punishment by American teachers and parents is widespread, according to survey and public opinion poll data. American literature reflects a tolerance of inflicting pain on children, corporal punishment is commonly meted out in schools, and many people believe the Bible authorizes physical punishment for children. However, psychological and medical literature generally agree that corporal punishment is harmful to children. Most States, including California, authorize the physical assault of children by parents, teachers, or both. Several States limit criminal liability to instances in which the conduct of the disciplinarian evidences malice. However, in Minnesota, the criminal code proscribes physical punishment; this author calls for all States to adopt the Minnesota model by criminalizing every act of corporal punishment to the same extent as other assaults. 209 notes


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