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Letter the House Education and Labor Committee on Corporal Punishment in Schools

April 14, 2010

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association, we write to express our position on corporal punishment and effective school safety strategies, in advance of this week’s Education and Labor Committee hearing on Corporal Punishment in Schools and its Effect on School Success.  We commend the Committee for holding a hearing on this important issue -- ensuring the safety of students, staff, and others in a school setting by providing discipline methods that encourage student engagement and success.
NEA believes that all educators and students have the right to work and learn in a safe school environment. Educators know that a positive, effective learning environment leads to successful student outcomes. We also know that there is no evidence to support the use of corporal punishment in schools as a strategy that leads to positive student engagement and learning. NEA categorically opposes the use of corporal punishment as a school discipline technique. It is more than ineffective - it is harmful.
Improving student academic and behavior outcomes requires ensuring all students access to the most effective and accurately implemented instructional and behavioral practices and interventions. An effective approach is the use of school-wide positive behavior supports (PBS/SWPBS) – a systems approach to establishing the social climate needed for all children in a school to achieve both social and academic success. 

Research has demonstrated that PBS/ SWPBS programs lead to positive student outcomes by significantly reducing office referrals and the negative behavior associated with classroom disruption (Irvin, L.K. et al., 2006).  Successful implementation of a PBS/SWPBS program requires a collaborative team decision-making approach, family engagement, and high quality professional development. Additional information on PBS/SWPBS is available at or  ‘
Thank you for the opportunity to offer these comments.

Kim Anderson 
Director of Government Relations