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Is corporal punishment allowed in Florida?

Corporal punishment is still allowed in Florida, despite the fact that it is illegal in many other states. Since 2009, the Florida government has had legislation requiring corporal punishment policies to be reviewed every three years by the schools that still use it. At those school board meetings, they must listen to the public testimonies about the parents' and children's opinions or experiences, and if the district doesn't meet the requirements set by the state, it will no longer be able to use corporal punishment in its schools.

Interestingly, if your child comes home from school and reports being paddled, you need to know that Florida statutes do not require schools to get parental consent before doing so. Many schools ask that parents sign waivers to allow it; however, as a parent, you may request that the school does not use this punishment on your child. On top of this, the school doesn't have any regulations on what can be used to punish students, which is something to consider.

As a teacher, you need to be familiar with your rights when it comes to corporal punishment. You may not choose to use this punishment in your own classroom or you may have rules at the school you teach at that requires certain punishments for children who get into trouble. Knowing who is able to receive this kind of punishment, along with those who have been asked to not receive this punishment by their parents, can save you a world of trouble. While this is a painful punishment to use, there is a difference between the correct method and what could be construed as abuse.

As an educator, stepping too far over that line could result in you facing charges, even if corporal punishment is allowed. If you're accused of being abusive, remember, you have a right to defend yourself.

Source: State Impact, "Your Guide to Corporal Florida Public Schools" Dec. 04, 2014

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