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Rhode Island Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

To spank, paddle, or slap someone as a means of discipline is called "corporal punishment," which was once the main form of punishment in U.S. schools. But behavioral research into the effects of corporal punishment on children and the emergence of other disciplinary strategies have made it much less common. A number of states have banned corporal punishment in public schools entirely, most having done so in the 1980s and 1990s.

State laws addressing corporal punishment in public schools either ban corporal punishment, expressly permit it, or allow districts in the state to come up with their own policies. But regardless of state law, teachers and administrators may not inflict unusually harsh pain or intense apprehension in the child, which would be considered child abuse.

Corporal Punishment in Rhode Island Public Schools at a Glance

Rhode Island does not allow the use of corporal punishment in public schools, although most states reocgnize the need to use extra force when confronted with a hostile student in the defense of self or other students.

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 (capital punishment banned from public schools in 1977)
Punishment Allowed -
Circumstances Allowable -

Note: State laws are not carved in stone and may change at any time through the decisions of higher courts, the enactment of newly signed legislation, and other means. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you also may want to contact a Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island Public Schools: Related Resources

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