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West Virginia Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

While some older adults may recall a teacher or nun paddling them at school, this is no longer the norm. West Virginia is among the 31 states (and Washington, D.C.) that have banned the corporal punishment of students in public schools.

West Virginia banned corporal punishment in 1994. However, students in private schools and homeschooled children could still be punished physically, by paddling, spanking, or otherwise, if permitted by the school and/or parents.

Research on Corporal Punishment of School Aged Children

Almost all of the current research has found that physical or corporal punishment is not an effective disciplinary tool. In fact, it generally harms children, rather than helps them develop. In addition, the Society for Adolescent Medicine has stated that corporal punishment in schools is an “ineffective, dangerous, and unacceptable method of discipline.” Sadly, children in 19 states may still be subjected to physical punishment, harkening back to a bygone era.

The West Virginia corporal punishment in public school law is listed in the chart below.

Code Section West Virginia Code Section 18A-5-1: Corporal Punishment Abolished
Corporal Punishment West Virginia law is clear: “Corporal punishment of any student by a school employee is prohibited.”

If your student was physically disciplined at school or disciplined another way that you feel was wrong, you should contact an experienced West Virginia education lawyer to learn more about these laws and your options.

Changing the Law in West Virginia

West Virginia’s corporal punishment ban doesn’t apply to private schools the way both Iowa and New Jersey law does. Individuals who want to change the law can organize with likeminded individuals to extend the ban to private schools, to return to permitting corporal punishment, or any other change. To change any law, you should start by talking to your local representatives, consider a grassroots lobby day or hiring a lobbyist, and possibly create a non-profit or other legal entity to support the cause. To do that, you may want to consult an experienced West Virginia business organizations lawyer.

Note: State laws change regularly, so consult with a knowledgeable attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these school discipline laws.

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