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Florida Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Corporal punishment refers to spanking, paddling, or other forms of physical discipline in schools. While many states have banned corporal punishment in public schools, Florida allows the practice. A Florida parent must give approval in principle before any paddling is used and must be carried out in the presence of another informed adult.

Corporal Punishment Statutes in Florida

Learn more about Florida corporal punishment in public schools laws in the table below.

Code Section


Punishment Allowed

Corporal punishment allowed, subject to prescribed procedures.

Circumstances Allowable

Must have approval in principle by the principal before it is used; presence of another informed adult; and that an explanation is provided to parents.

The history of public school discipline in America has gone from one extreme to the other as social attitudes toward corporal punishment and other, non-physical approaches have shifted back and forth. In the middle of the nineteenth century, U.S. educators generally relied on European models of discipline that urged against corporal punishment being used for academic errors and suggested instead that learning occurred best with encouragement and kindness.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the model classroom was more focused on having well-disciplined students sitting quietly while learning by repetition. Controlling student behavior while information was transferred from teacher to student became more prominent during this era. And, to a large extent, this is the model that continues to shape many current concepts about classroom activities and goals.

Media coverage in the 1990s and 2000s tended to focus on juveniles committing serious felonies on school property, and schools were portrayed as war zones. This caused many people to advocate for a return to more stringent student control, often referred to as “zero tolerance.” On the other hand, emerging theories on discipline and punishment also led many schools to shift their disciplinary focus to rewarding students for meeting or exceeding school administrators' expectations and away from punishing students for bad behavior.

Many modern administrators now seek to help students understand and change their behavior rather than handing out standard punitive consequences for violating school rules. This movement away from punishment and towards working with students to change their own behavior has led many states and school districts to reexamine the way they handle disciplinary issues at school.

Florida Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws: Related Resources

State education laws are constantly changing. You can learn more by visiting FindLaw's School Discipline section. If you would like legal assistance with an education case, you can contact a Florida education attorney in your area.

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