Punishing Students by 'Swatting the Buttocks With a Paddle' Being Brought Back by Missouri School District

The Cassville School District in Missouri has implemented a policy that will allow for students to be punished with a paddle as a last disciplinary resort.

An empty classroom is seen at Hollywood High School

An empty classroom is seen at Hollywood High School.

An empty classroom is seen at Hollywood High School

Almost everything eventually comes back into style, but did anyone foresee corporal punishment of kids in school making a return in 2022? 

The Cassville School District in Missouri announced Tuesday that a new policy is set to be implemented in which students can be punished with a paddle, perUSA Today. School district superintendent Merlyn Johnson said parents were notified of the board’s approval of the policy in June. It will require written permission from a student’s family before such a method is used “when other means of discipline have failed and then only in reasonable form, when the principal approves it.” 

The policy indicates “swatting the buttocks with a paddle” is the only form of physical punishment allowed, and if used, it would be provided by the school’s principal in the presence of a witness, but not in front of their fellow students. Johnson said the number of swats could depend on the age of the student with older children receiving as many as three and younger kids getting either one or two. 

“When it becomes necessary to use corporal punishment, it shall be administered so that there can be no chance of bodily injury or harm,” the policy reads. “Striking a student on the head or face is not permitted.”

According to the Hill, Johnson said an anonymous, third-party survey was sent out last year which found that discipline was at the top of the list of parents’ concerns. Johnson claims he has heard parents from this “very traditional community” wonder why corporal punishment was no longer an option in schools. 

“Parents have said, ‘Why can’t you paddle my student?’ And we’re like, ‘We can’t paddle your student, our policy does not support that,’” he said. “There had been conversation with parents and there had been requests from parents for us to look into it.” 

Johnson claims the response among parents with children in the Cassville School District has been overwhelmingly positive. “We’ve had people actually thank us for it,” he said. “Surprisingly, those on social media would probably be appalled to hear us say these things but the majority of people that I’ve run into have been supportive.” 

School corporal punishment was deemed constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1977. The ruling essentially left the decision to keep this form of discipline up to each state, and Missouri was one of the 19 that chose to do so. 

Latest in Life