Sparing the Rod

Most big-city school districts in California have banned corporal punishment, but state law still allows it in other districts if the school has parental permission. The Legislature is now considering a bill (AB 1617) sponsored by Assemblyman Sam Farr (D-Carmel) that would make the complete ban statewide. It deserves passage.

Corporal punishment in the classroom is wrong and counterproductive. The state has strict standards for foster parents, barring the use of corporal punishment. Standards for the schools should not be less. The action is all the more urgent given the evident difficulty of distinguishing between corporal punishment and child abuse, and the risk posed when public agencies appear to sanction practices that can so easily be abused.

The measure will come before the Assembly Education Committee on Tuesday. It should receive swift, positive consideration there, and by the Legislature as a whole.

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