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District of Columbia Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

To spank, paddle, or otherwise use non-injuring forms of physical force as discipline is referred to as "corporal punishment." Many states have banned corporal punishment from public schools altogether, in light of studies suggesting that it is an ineffective form of discipline, but others continue to practice it. But even states that allow the use of corporal punishment prohibit any kind of force that causes extreme pain, injury, or excessive fear.

Corporal Punishment in District of Columbia Public Schools at a Glance

The use of corporal punishment in Washington, D.C. public schools was prohibited in 1977. But while the statute makes no mention of it, states typically allow the use of physical force in emergencies such as self-defense.

See FindLaw's School Discipline section for related articles and resources, including School Discipline History. You may also want to check out FindLaw's Child Abuse section.

Code Section No statutory provisions
Punishment Allowed Corporal punishment in public schools was banned in 1977
Circumstances Allowable None specifically stated, but states generally allow for the use of appropriate physical force if necessary for self-defense, defense of other students, or defense of property.

Note: State laws are not carved in stone but may change at any time, usually through the enactment of new legislation but sometimes through higher court decisions or other means. You may want to contact a District of Columbia education law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Other Types of Punishment Generally Allowed in Public Schools

Corporal punishment is not allowed in many states, although it was the main form of punishment in virtually all states at one time. Some schools still allow paddling and spanking, but most states have ended the practice. In the absence of corporal punishment, though, teachers and administrators have employed the following methods for disciplining students:

  • Sending a student home early
  • After-school conference with the teacher and/or principal
  • Reference to an outside counselor or treatment program
  • In-school suspension or after-school detention
  • Suspension from school (however, many districts are coming to the conclusion that this is counterproductive)

Research the Law

Corporal Punishment in Washington, D.C. Public Schools: Related Resources

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