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The Reintroduction of Corporal Punishment Into Schools

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/1/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 803 times Debate No: 77170
Debate Rounds (4)
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Hello all. This debate is on whether or not corporal punishment should be reintroduced into the education system, to be used by teachers and school administrators. I will be arguing in the negative, and my opponent will argue as a proponent of the reintroduction of corporal punishment into the school system.


corporal punishment: a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain in order to punish a person convicted of a crime or as retribution for a perceived offence, including physical chastisement such as spanking, paddling or caning of minors by parents, guardians, or school or other officials.

school: an institution for educating children. For the purposes of this debate, we will assume that this policy will apply to all of these institutions, not just ones under the jurisdiction of the state.


R1: Acceptance
R2: All Main Arguments and Contentions
R3: Rebuttal
R4: Response and Summary of Previous Rounds/Conclusion

Please note that this debate will be conducted in a formal, respectable manner with extended and well-developed arguments. Each debater will be allowed 8,000 characters to formulate a statement for each round.


I await my opponent's acceptance.


I accept.

I wish luck upon my opponent!
Debate Round No. 1


Hello to everyone reading. In this debate, I will be arguing that it is inappropriate and irrational to introduce corporal punishment into the entirety of the education system. I claim that corporal punishment is ineffective (and in most cases, harmful), leaves indelible psychological stains, and undermines the respect and benevolence within a teacher-pupil relationship. With the following contentions, I will elaborate on these claims.


C1: Prohibiting Corporal Punishment Reduces Abuse

We can see in countries across the world that have prohibited corporal punishment in schools that this ban has reduced rates of abuse in the home. Since Sweden banned the use of corporal punishment in education institutions in 1979, the rates of support of this practice among parents have dropped form 50% to 11%, and in correlation with these rates, domestic abuse rates have fallen. By this example, we can conclude that when corporal punishment is banned in school, it reduces domestic abuse rates in the home, and is therefore productive and beneficial.

C2: Corporal Punishment Has Long-Lasting Psychological Effects

Being punished physically, even in a controlled, academic environment, is a shock to the system. This shock is amplified in young children. It has been concluded in numerous studies that corporal punishment increases the risk of dangerous and threatening behavior developing in the punished child. Corporal punishment has been linked to addiction and various other serious mental disorders.

A study affiliated with the American Academy of Pediatrics found the following:

"Harsh physical punishment was associated with increased odds of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug abuse/dependence, and several personality disorders after adjusting for sociodemographic variables and family history of dysfunction (adjusted odds ratio: 1.36–2.46)."

This psychological harm can cause a growing resentment to authority, making it more challenging for the teacher to effectively impart knowledge to the students. Evidently, corporal punishment is ineffective in the short-term and long-term, and outweighs any of the (apparently) few benefits. As psychologist Elizabeth Gershoff writes:

"Until researchers, clinicians, and parents can definitively demonstrate the presence of positive effects of corporal punishment, including effectiveness in halting future misbehavior, not just the absence of negative effects, we as psychologists can not responsibly recommend its use."

C3: Corporal Punishment Undermines the Student-Teacher Relationship

Students learn when they feel supported and comfortable in the teaching environment. Especially when the teacher utilizes corporal punishment, the students' trust in the teacher is severely damaged. As Edward Clark explains in his work "Creating a Context for Teaching and Learning", students do their best work when they are given positive reinforcement for successes rather than negative reinforcement for mistakes.

Furthermore, when teachers attempt to impart lessons of acceptance and tolerance, students will not take these lessons to heart. Students will begin to associate teachers with the same type of violence they suffer at the hands of bullies and others which abuse them. This association, along with the natural resentment to authority explained in C2, effectively undermines the student's relationship to a teacher.

C4: Corporal Punishment Can Be Used As A Tool for Non-Engagement

Corporal punishment often draws away from the true nature of the problem, and instead focuses on the pure deterrence aspect. According to a principal of a school which uses capital punishment, many of the most commonly punished students are from struggling households where corporal punishment is more often administered. Physically punishing perhaps the most vulnerable students is not effective at teaching the underlying problem with their actions, often, it just escalates the problem itself.

In states which allow corporal punishment as a means for teachers, 36% of these are above the national mean of state composite test scores, while 89% of the states that have banned this practice in schools are above the mean. This disparity has often been attributed to a lack of engagement to the student body by teachers, who use corporal punishment instead of engaging to find the root of the problem.


Overall, it has been proven and supported that banning corporal punishment reduces abuse in the home, and instituting this form of punishment in schools has negative psychological effects, undermines the relationship between students and teachers, and can be used as an excuse or cop-out for teachers instead of engaging with misbehaving students.

It is resolved that the reintroduction of corporal punishment into schools would be inappropriate and irrational, for the above-mentioned reasons.





AlexanderOc forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


My arguments extend. I have nothing to rebut.


AlexanderOc forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


My arguments extend without response.


AlexanderOc forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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