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Arizona Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Corporal punishment in public schools is an umbrella term for any kind of physical discipline carried out by a school, which may include spanking and paddling. Corporal punishment has been outlawed in more than half of all states.

Corporal Punishment in Arizona Schools

Yet Arizona is one of 19 states still allows corporal punishment, according to the Center for Effective Discipline. The Department of Education reports that 223,190 students were physically disciplined nationwide in 2006.

The other 18 states are mostly in the South. The use of corporal punishment is rooted in a strong Bible Belt belief in the proverbial "spare the rod and spoil the child," says George Holden, a Southern Methodist University psychology professor. It's reinforced by Southern sensibilities that favor obedience and respect for authority, he says.

Arizona corporal punishment laws leave it up to each district's governing board to set a policy. There is no prohibition against a school doling out punishment at school.

Some parents and educators say corporal punishment, used sparingly and appropriately, can be an effective discipline tool. The key seems to be awareness of the backgrounds and needs of your students. For some children, a paddling might put an end to a discipline problem, while for others it could add fuel to the fire. Corporal punishment can be a divisive issue, to be sure.

Parents are, therefore, free to call their district and ask exactly how their child's school disciplines students.  An Arizona school received national attention after a Deer Valley School District school put a 7-year-old boy in a padded room. A family sued the district after discovering their child was put in a "seclusion room" for hours without their knowledge.

In some districts, schools may be required to get written approval from parents before using seclusion rooms. But again, it varies from district to district.

The following chart summarizes the main provisions of Arizona corporal punishment in public school laws. FindLaw's School Discipline section contains additional articles and resources.

Code Section 15-843
Punishment Allowed Procedures for disciplining pupils, including the use of corporal punishment, are decided and allowed by governing board; use of corporal punishment is to be consistent with state board of education guidelines.
Circumstances Allowable -


Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact an Arizona education law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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