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Should teachers use corporal punishment on students?

A majority of Americans believe in a parent’s right to spank a child, according to a recent survey, though most would never dream of granting that right to an educator. But in almost half the country, corporal punishment is legal in schools.

A majority of Americans believe in a parent’s right to spank a child — but not for an educator to do so. Yet corporal punishment in schools is still legal in 22 states.

Regulation isn’t uniform, however, and it can change from one school district to the next. In Texas, corporal punishment is outlawed in cities like Dallas and Austin but remains a popular practice in more than 40 percent of the state.


In 2011, the Texas legislature required all school districts to give parents the ability to opt out in an effort to appease those who favored a ban on corporal punishment. The compromise has not worked as planned in communities like DeSoto, where kindergartener Jalijah Smith was paddled by a teacher even though his parents had submitted an opt-out form. Because Texas has legalized corporal punishment at a state level, educators are largely immune from legal action.

VICE News’ Antonia Hylton talks to teachers, students, and lawmakers in Texas about how corporal punishment is regulated in schools.

This segment originally aired April 5, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

If you or a loved one have recently received corporal punishment in school despite filing an opt-out form, please get in touch with VICE News to share your story:,