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Mississippi Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Most states have education statutes that govern “corporal punishment” in public schools, determining whether school administrators are permitted to hit, spank, or paddle students as a means of discipline. States can vary on whether these types of practices are allowed in public schools and to what extent. Here is a brief overview of corporal punishment in public schools laws in Mississippi.

Corporal Punishment Statutes in Mississippi

The majority of states prohibit corporal punishment in public schools, although Mississippi permits corporal punishment “administered in a reasonable manner, or any reasonable action to maintain control and discipline of students.” Mississippi’s corporal punishment in public schools statutes are listed in the table below.

Code Section

Mississippi Code 37-11-57

Punishment Allowed

Corporal punishment does not constitute abuse if reasonable manner.

Circumstances Allowable

Reasonable physical force as necessary to maintain order.

History of Corporal Punishment in Public Schools

The history of public school discipline in the United States has swung from one extreme to the other, generally following public attitudes toward corporal punishment in general. As public schooling became more prevalent in the mid-1800s, most U.S. educators mimicked European models of discipline, suggesting that learning occurred best with encouragement and kindness and discouraging physical punishment in response to academic errors.  

At the beginning of the twentieth century, this perspective shifted and model classrooms focused instead on well-disciplined students sitting attentively and learning by rote. Education during this era was seen more as a process of controlling student behavior while conveying information from teachers to students. By and large, these ideas continue to shape our modern concepts about classroom behavior and goals.

Most recently, schools have responded media coverage focusing on juveniles committing serious felonies on school property and portraying schools as veritable war zones by instituting more rigorous student control by way of “zero tolerance” behavior policies. During the same time period, emerging theories on discipline and punishment have led many schools to shift their focus away from punishing students for bad behavior to rewarding them for meeting or exceeding educational expectations. Some modern public school administrators are now looking at disciplinary situations as "teachable moments" and seek to help students understand and change their behavior rather than hand down punitive physical consequences.

Mississippi Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws: Related Resources

State education laws can be difficult to understand. You can consult with a Mississippi education attorney if you would like legal assistance regarding an education matter. You can also find more resources and information on this topic by visiting FindLaw's section on School Discipline.

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