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.
|Code Section||No statutory provisions (capital punishment banned from public schools in 1977)
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:
Research the Law
Corporal Punishment in Rhode Island Public Schools: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.