The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) applauds the introduction of the Protecting our Students in Schools Act of 2021. The bill would prohibit the use of corporal punishment in schools across the United States that receive federal funding.
Corporal punishment not only causes physical harm to a student but harms the relationship students have with their school, educators, and school leaders which leads to negative impacts on academic outcomes, and physical and emotional well-being. Furthermore, students with disabilities and Black students are disproportionately affected by this harmful discipline practice. The bill calls for alternative, evidence-based methods to promote positive school culture as well as accountability if schools continue to use corporal punishment.
“The Protecting Our Students in Schools Act of 2021 will hold schools accountable to provide a safe learning environment that supports all students without the use of inappropriate physical discipline,” said Curt Decker, NDRN Executive Director. “Rather than inflicting violence on students as a discipline practice, this bill shifts the focus to healing and investments in positive behavioral interventions.”
The bill also includes additional protections such as mandating that schools inform parents, and State educational agencies if corporal punishment was used, and if the student has a disability the Protection and Advocacy agency for people with disabilities must also be notified. The bill also stipulates that financial assistance can be withheld if schools continue to use corporal punishment but also includes grants to improve school climate and reduce the use of exclusionary discipline. NDRN is committed to supporting legislation that protects the rights and health of all students, especially students with disabilities and students of color who disproportionately face disciplinary action in school.
The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the P&A/CAP Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.