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New Jersey Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Most states now prohibit the use of corporal punishment, the use of physical force as a means of discipline, in public schools. Federal law still allows for the practice, so it's up to state law to regulate it. Some states allow corporal punishment -- even specifically describing it as the reasonable use of "slapping or spanking" to maintain order in the classroom. Most states that allow this also give parents an opportunity to opt-out if they so choose.

In New Jersey, corporal punishment is strictly prohibited in public schools; however, the statute does allow for the use of "reasonable" force in certain situations, such as:

  • To quell a disturbance, threatening physical injury to others;
  • To obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects upon the person or within the control of a pupil;
  • Tor the purpose of self-defense; and
  • For the protection of persons or property.

New Jersey law characterizes "severe corporal punishment upon a child" as "abuse" and thus subject to child abuse laws. But "severe" corporal punishment is defined by the state as "to the point that the child's physical, mental, or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as a result." 

Still, New Jersey's ban on corporal punishment does not extend to parents. State laws says "[A] person with responsibility for care, supervision, discipline, or safety of another may use force against them if for the purpose of and to the extent necessary to further the responsibility."

Learn more about New Jersey's corporal punishment in public school laws in the box below. See FindLaw's School Discipline section for additional articles and resources.

Code Section 18A:6-1
Punishment Allowed Corporal punishment prohibited.
Circumstances Allowable Reasonable force may be used to quell a disturbance, obtain possession of weapons, etc., for self-defense or for protection of person or property and not considered corporal punishment.

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

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