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New Mexico Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

For many years, corporal punishment was a normal form of school discipline across the United States. In a few states, it’s commonplace today, even on students with disabilities. Even neighboring Arizona continues to permit this old-fashioned practice.

New Mexico is the state to most recently join 30 states and D.C. in banning the infliction of corporal punishment or paddling on students. New Mexico is on the only state in the South and Southwest to abolish school corporal punishment.

New Mexico Banned Corporal Punishment in Schools in 2011

New Mexico prohibits schools for using corporal punishment on students, including paddling, spanking, swatting with a ruler, and any other physical punishments the older generations may recall. This law was passed and signed by Governor Susana Martinez in the spring of 2011.

The following table lists the applicable New Mexico corporal punishment in schools law.

Code Section New Mexico Statutes Section 22-5-4.3: School Discipline Policies
School Discipline Prohibited New Mexico law clearly states that “corporal punishment shall be prohibited by each local school board and each governing body of a charter school.” Note that this doesn’t include other types of schools, such as private schools or home schools.

The current research on this subject suggests that physical or corporal punishment is not an effective disciplinary tool and that it harms, rather than helps children. The Society for Adolescent Medicine has clearly stated its position that school corporal punishment is an “ineffective, dangerous, and unacceptable method of discipline.” Considering the current trend of medical professionals, New Mexicans can be proud that their state recognized this problem and doesn’t permit corporal punishment in its schools.

If your student was physically punished at school or punished in a way you feel is wrong, then you may want to speak to an experienced New Mexico education lawyer or civil rights lawyer. A good lawyer will explain the law as it relates to your circumstances and inform you of your legal options.

Note: State and federal laws are constantly being updated by legislators, the judicial branch, and voters by referendum or initiatives. Please verify these education laws by conducting your own legal research or contacting a knowledgeable lawyer.

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