In Italy you can also end up in prison, but in the United States a teacher can hit a pupil with all due respect. In fact, as CNN reports, corporal punishment will be allowed, for the next school year, in the classrooms of a small town in southwestern Missouri, where the district will admit corporal punishment for any undisciplined student. Fortunately, however, with parental consent. In the town of Cassville, trustees this week briefed families on the new policy at an open meeting where they also handed in consent forms to sign. This was reported by a parent who attended the meeting. Corporal punishment was a widely accepted means of maintaining discipline in US schools during the 19th and early 20th centuries, but the practice has fallen into disuse in recent decades. While in Italy it is an offense that provides for the disciplinary sanction of suspension from service for the offender teacher.
Corporal punishment is allowed in 19 US states
In 1977 the US Supreme Court ruled that corporal punishment in schools was constitutional, giving states the right to decide for themselves. Since then, many states have banned this practice. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 19 US states still allow it, most of them in the South. Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, said he was surprised by Cassville’s decision. “The trend in America has been the opposite: schools are dropping the curriculum altogether. This is the first time I’ve heard of someone adopting it, ”he said.
No clarification from the school board
The Cassville school district, which serves 1,900 students, formally adopted the policy in June, according to its website. The document says corporal punishment will be considered “only when all other alternative means of discipline have failed.” However, they must be administered without “possibility of injury or physical damage”. The site specifies that “hitting a student on the head or face is not allowed”. The agencies were unable to speak to Merlyn Johnson, superintendent of the Cassville School District. School board members declined to comment or were not reachable. Many district residents, however, do not seem frightened by the spanking option at school and calmly comment: “I don’t think it will be a problem.”