DAA News Network

Disabled students face beatings in US school

Posted 26/8-09 at 19.18

More than 40,000 disabled students suffered physical punishment, including beatings, in US state schools (2006-07) . This was revealed in "Impairing Education: Corporal Punishment of Students with Disabilities in US Public Schools," a report just published by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch.

The highest numbers of disabled students facing abuse were found in the Southern States. Texas alone accounted for more than 10,000 cases.

Anna M., on what happened when she picked up her 7-year-old son, who has autism, from his public elementary school in Florida:

"He was marked - top of his arms, under his arms, down his torso. He had a busted lip, which I hadn't noticed at first. He told me, ‘They made me wash the blood off before I saw you.'"


What you can do

In the United States educational policy is the responsibility of the states and sometimes the local educational authorities. We suggest that you write to the Chair of the Texas State Board of Education and the Governor of the state to voice your concerns over corporal punishment in schools. We have chosen Texas because more than a quarter of all cases of abuse took place here. If you wish, you could write similar letters or emails to officials in the other states cited in the report. Names and contact details are easily found on the internet.

Gail Lowe


State Board of Education 11 Chris Avenue

Lampasas, TX 76550


Governor Rick Perry

Office of the Governor

P.O. Box 12428 Austin, Texas 78711-2428


Below is a sample letter. This is only a suggestion. Please alter as seems most appropriate. For general guidelines on writing letter protesting against human rights abuse see the Amnesty International website: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/content.asp?CategoryID=949

Dear ...,

I am writing to express my concern over the findings of a recent report, Impairing Education: Corporal Punishment of Students with Disabilities in US Public Schools. As you may be aware, the report found that a disproportionate number of students with disabilities suffered corporal punishment in public schools. Furthermore, Texas accounted for about 25% of all the cases reported in the United States.

A humane society should be protecting children against physical assault, not condoning it. Besides representing a violation of children's basic human rights, virtually all studies have found that inflicting corporal punishment is immensely counterproductive. It is humiliating, shows children that violence is acceptable and can create lasting physical and psychological damage. For children with disabilities the negative impact of such treatment is often horrific and heartbreaking.

As a parent and someone in a position to change official policy, I urge you to read the report and in light of the disturbing evidence presented to move to join the other 30 states that have abolished corporal punishment in schools.



Comment added 27/6-13 at 01.25 by: author (bertrandum@hotmail.com )

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