Colorado lawmakers consider banning corporal punishment in public schools

DENVER — Lawmakers in the Colorado House will begin discussing whether to prohibit imposing corporal punishment on children in public schools.

The bill defines corporal punishment as “the willful infliction of, or willfully causing the infliction of, physical pain.”

House Bill 1038 would also ban corporal punishment of children in state-licensed child care centers, family child care homes and specialized group facilities.

According to Education Week, 15 states — including Arizona, Arkansas, Mississippi, Wyoming and Tennessee — explicitly allow corporal punishment. However, it found corporal punishment is still practiced in some form in public schools in 21 states.

“Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and Oklahoma physically disciplined the most students in 2013-14 — though the practice continues to be the most widespread in Mississippi, where more than half of students attend schools that use paddling and other physical discipline,” researchers said.

Researcher also found black students are “disproportionately likely to experience physical discipline.”

The Colorado bill is sponsored by Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver. The first hearing in the House is scheduled for Monday.