Students with Tourette syndrome continue to be punished for their misunderstood symptoms. Nearly half the country allows or doesn’t explicitly ban physical discipline in schools that includes spanking, caning and paddling. Until every state passes laws that forbid these archaic and ineffective practice and instead uses supportive, proactive and effective approaches, symptoms of Tourette will continue to result in children receiving punishment which is intended to cause them pain.

On November 22, 2016 the U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. sent a letter urging state leaders to end the use of corporal punishment in schools, a ‘practice repeatedly linked to harmful short-term and long-term outcomes for students’ and instead urged them to ‘promote supportive, effective disciplinary measures.

Below are highlights of this letter.

  • The use of corporal punishment is harmful, ineffective, and often disproportionately applied to students of color and students with disabilities.
  • In-school corporal punishment generally entails school personnel intentionally inflicting pain on a child as a punishment or in an attempt to change the child’s behavior.
  • Twenty-two states allow the use of corporal punishment in their schools as a means to punish students. States have the ability to change this.
  • Notably, the very acts of corporal punishment that are permissible when applied to children in schools under some state laws would be prohibited as criminal assault or battery when applied to adults in the community in those very same states.
  • The use of corporal punishment can hinder the creation of a positive school climate by focusing on punitive measures to address student misbehavior rather than positive behavioral interventions and supports.
  • Corporal punishment also teaches students that physical force is an acceptable means of solving problems, undermining efforts to promote nonviolent techniques for conflict resolution.

Click here to read the full text of the letter.

For more information about Education and Support, please contact Kathy Giordano, TAA’s Education Specialist.