Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Are Children With Disabilities Singled Out for Corporal Punishment?

A recent study shows that children with disabilities are disproportionately the subject of corporal punishment. Most states no longer permit corporal punishment, but where it is permitted, kids with disabilities are all to frequently the recipients of the punishment. whether children should be spanked at all is probably beyond the scope of this blog.

The entire study may be read here.

When coupled with the recent revelations about the abuses concerning seclusion and restraints, particularly concerning children with disabilities, this new study is certainly a cause for concern.

The discipline provisions of IDEA only deal with a disciplinary change of placement. Could paddling of a child on an IEP ever be considered a change of placement? If yes, must there first be a manifestation determination? If not, should the law be amended given this new study? As usual I have more questions than answers. What do you think?


  1. Sorry, call me a northern liberal (because I am) but whether kids should be HIT in school by professionals charged with their education and care cannot possibly be beyond the scope of any blog, particularly one that concerns itself with the system of justice in special education. The whole thing is insane. My reaction when I first saw this article in the NYT was MORE?!?!? Really, if I lived in a state where this was permitted, I would move. It's madness to entrust children, with or without disabilities (but particularly with disabilities) to people who believe they should be permitted to beat them. Human rights? Anyone? Somebody check the clock, what century are we in?

  2. johnny@educatioalrescueonline.comAugust 14, 2009 at 12:14 PM

    As a former campus administrator and Director of Special Education, corporal punishment should never be used for any student. A school administrator is putting his future on the line with this kind of punishment. I am not against you spanking your child at home if that is what you choose to do. It is not my place to discipline your child in this manner at school.
    Would corporal punishment be a change in placement and require manifestation determination, NO. Is this the normal punishment for all students? If all student are normally punished in this manner, then it not a special education issue. Is more special ed student are being punished compared to the regular student? I would say, Yes! While I was a school administrator I always saw more SPED student that regular students during the day. Why is this surprise? Teachers tend to send SPED student more quickly to the office than regular students. What this really shows are schools and teachers are in need of more good training in other ways to discipline student with positive supports.

  3. Two very thoughtful comments.

    We appreciate your input.