- A Missouri school district is reinstating the use of corporal punishment.
- The new policy allows students to be spanked with a paddle for bad behavior, if parents opt-in.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advises against corporal punishment of any kind.
A Missouri school district is reinstating the option to use corporal punishment, or spanking kids for bad behavior, a practice that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly advises against.
Cassville School District's school board adopted a corporal punishment policy over the summer that permits it as a last resort "of correction or of maintaining discipline and order in schools."
Parents of students must sign an "opt-in" form to allow corporal punishment to be used as a form of discipline on their children, according to the policy.
When it is used, it's administered by "swatting the buttocks with a paddle," according to the Cassville Middle School handbook. The district's elementary and high schools also allow for corporal punishment, according to their handbooks.
Cassville School District declined to answer Insider's questions about the policy, and an employee pointed to the policies found online.
In 2018, the AAP updated its guidance on spanking to say that parents "parents should never hit their child."
A small study cited in the guidance found that within 10 minutes, 73% of kids who had been subject to corporal punishment had "resumed the behavior for which they had been punished."
The AAP also said spanking and other forms of corporal punishment have been linked to higher levels of aggression in preschool and school-aged kids and a higher risk of mental health disorders.
Missouri is one of 19 states where corporal punishment is a legal practice in public schools. It's also legal in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.