Mississippi exceeds all other states in corporal punishment


Mississippi students are spanked or issued some form of physical discipline more than any other student in any other state, according to data from the Department of Education (DOE).

Although the numbers show much of corporal punishment happens here in the Magnolia State, many parents disagree with the measure, preferring no one else spank their child.

“Don’t spank him. He’s my child,” said Esmeralda Lopez, a soon-to-be mom expecting her first child this year.

Other parents shared similar sentiments, like Chris Snow, who said he’d rather the school reach out to him and his wife before administering physical discipline.

“Some teachers can go overboard. I’m not against it, but it just depends on the situation and the circumstance. So, I’d rather for you to call me.”

Federal data places Mississippi at the top of the list for the number of times it administered corporal punishment.

Based on DOE data from the 2015-2016 school year, Mississippi outnumbered other states, recording 23,690 cases.

During the 2017-2018 academic year, that number decreased by more than 3,000, but the Magnolia State still led the pack, Texas and Alabama trailed.

“I grew up that way and I just don’t feel it’s a mean thing to do,” said Robert Phillips, a former student and former educator at DeSoto County Schools.

Phillips reflected on his time as a student in grade school, saying corporal punishment worked for his own upbringing and his family’s.

“I learned how to respect authority and have, what I call, a healthy fear of authority,” Phillips said.

The latest DeSoto County data shows that in academic year 2015-2016, only 3% of DeSoto County students received this form of discipline; that’s 852 students out of a total of more than 33,000 enrolled that year.

We learned that DeSoto County parents sign a waiver to accept or deny corporal punishment; however, most still spoke against the measure being utilized in schools, like Hernando resident Tyler Mitchell, who said he believes the approach is ineffective.

“Me personally, I don’t think it works,” Mitchell said.

According to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, the majority of students who receive corporal punishment were in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.