Corporal punishment declining in Mississippi schools

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — A report finds Mississippi students were physically punished, typically with a wooden paddle, 39,000 times during the 2011-12 school year.

That punishment was meted in 99 of the state’s 151 school districts, according to the districts’ counts self-reported to the state Department of Education and obtained by The Clarion-Ledger through an open records request.

The numbers reflect a trend in decline. For example, in 2007-08, 58,343 instances of corporal punishment were reported, and that number has dropped almost every year.

Most states don’t allow corporal punishment in public schools at all. Mississippi is among 19 states that do.

In Mississippi, corporal punishment is used in both top-performing and academically struggling school districts. Corporal punishment is allowed in Hinds County schools with parents’ consent.