Health Association in New York State, Inc.
Community Connections, Fall 2003
Punishment in Schools
As a leader in the field of advocacy and social action on behalf of the mental health of children and adolescents, the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) supports conditions that promote the healthy mental and emotional development of our country's youth.
Corporal punishment involves the deliberate infliction of pain upon a child, by an adult, as a result of the child's misbehavior or perceived misbehavior. Scientific research has concluded that the effects of corporal punishment are detrimental to the emotional and educational needs of children. There are many effective means of discipline that promote self-control and the development of appropriate socially adaptive behaviors in constructive, non-harmful ways. The use of corporal punishment in schools sends messages to our youth that the use of physical force and infliction of harm are acceptable means of controlling the behavior of others and settling conflicts. Some youth will learn from this example and demonstrate aggressive, harmful behavior themselves.
Youth subjected to corporal punishment may also exhibit other types of symptoms such as low self-esteem, lack of trust in adults, or allowing themselves to be victimized in other situations. Schools have a responsibility to model for and teach our youth methods of exerting authority and modifying behavior that are constructive, humane, and provide opportunities for growth.
punishment has already been banned in several states and in several school
districts. Legislation is pending in other states and school districts.
The National PTA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, the National Education Association, the American Bar Association, and EPOCH-USA, also calls for the abolishment of corporal punishment in our nation’s schools.
Approved by the
NMHA Board of Directors June 11, 2000
Reprinted from http://www.nmha.org/position/ps26.cfm