Corporal punishment refers to the use of physical force -- such as slapping, spanking, or hitting -- as a means of discipline. Many states still allow public school teachers and administrators to use corporal punishment. In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed the legality of disciplinary corporal punishment in public schools.
Corporal Punishment in Washington State
Corporal punishment means intentionally causing physical pain to a student. It was outlawed in Washington in 1994. The ban on corporal punishment does not include situations where a school staff person uses physical force necessary to maintain order or to prevent a student from harming himself or herself, other students, school staff, or property.
What Types Of Punishment Are Allowed In Public Schools?
Teachers and school administrators can use a variety of methods to discipline students. Here are some examples:
What Agency Can I Contact For More Information Or To Make A Complaint?
The Office of the Education Ombuds (OEO) resolves complaints, disputes, and problems between families and Washington State elementary and secondary public schools in all areas that affect student learning. Please contact that office for more information or consider speaking to an attorney who specializes in education law.
Washington's corporal punishment in public school law is briefly summarized in the following table. See FindLaw's School Discipline section for additional articles.
|Punishment Allowed||Use of corporal punishment is prohibited.|
Note: State laws surrounding education and corporal punishment are constantly changing -- contact a Washington education attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
Washington Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.