Irene J. Hartzell, PhD – Educational Consultant

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In 1975 the Oregon State Legislature Committee on Education proposed Senate Bill 831 to outlaw corporal punishment in the Oregon Public Schools. I was honored to present expert testimony on behalf of that legislation, which was not enacted until 1989. *(American Psychological Association) (PDF of testimony)


Typically students who do well socially and academically don’t wind up in the assistant principal’s office for disciplinary action. Misbehavior, in its many forms, is a learned deviant behavior pattern. Evidence  indicates that failure can contribute to students’ misbehavior. Which, in its many forms, is a learned deviant behavior pattern. Corporal punishment Is neither an effective deterrent against acting out, nor a remedy for school failure.

In the intervening years, 31 states including Oregon have passed legislation banning corporal punishment in their public schools. Nineteen states still permit corporal punishment. Most of the 19  states that still allow corporal punishment use it rarely, but some states like Texas and Alabama employ it often and severely. (a case in point)


With everyday life becoming increasingly hectic and stressful the negative impact on parenting isn’t  unexpected. The recent (April 7, 2016) Gershoff and Grogan-Kaylor “Journal of Family Psychology” article “Spanking and Child Outcomes: Old Controversies and New Meta-Analyses” has re-ignited interest in the effects of spanking. Their analysis of 70 research studies conducted over 50 years concluded that spanking put children at risk for aggression, anti-social behavior, mental-health problems, negative parent-child relationships, impaired cognitive ability, low self-esteem and risk of parental physical abuse.