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Ohio Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

State laws govern whether corporal punishment -- which is hitting, spanking, or paddling as a means of discipline -- is allowed in public schools, and to what extent. The trend points toward prohibition of corporal punishment in most states. In Ohio, corporal punishment in public schools is not allowed. However, such use of force is allowed if required to quell a disturbance or protect others from harm.

The basic provisions of Ohio's corporal punishment in public schools laws are listed in the following table, and you can find additional information below that. See FindLaw's School Discipline section to learn more.

Code Section 3319.41
Punishment Allowed Corporal punishment prohibited.
Circumstances Allowable Board may not prohibit use of reasonable force to quell a disturbance, threatening physical injury; gain possession of weapon; or protect property.

Private Schools

Ohio's corporal punishment laws prohibit teachers and other public school employees from using physical force as a form of discipline. However, the law only applies to public schools, and does not include private schools in this practice. The corporal punishment law does allow private teachers and private school employees to use corporal punishment, as long as that form of punishment is allowed by the school's discipline policies. Many private schools may require the parent to consent to corporal punishment in order to avoid assault, battery, or child abuse issues.


In addition to violating the corporal punishment law, a teacher who uses corporal punishment may have committed an assault, which is both a crime and subject to civil liability. An assault is defined as a threat or attempt to inflict personal injury that is perceived by the intended victim. This can be anything from threatening corporal punishment, or raising a hand at a child


Battery is defined as an unwanted touching that would be offensive to a reasonable person. A teacher who violates Ohio's corporal punishment law may have committed a battery as well. Like assault, battery is both a crime, and subject to civil penalties.

Child Abuse

Child abuse can come in many forms, and corporal punishment may qualify as child abuse, depending on the severity. Ohio law defines child abuse as physical or mental injury to a child that is not an accident. This means that if the corporal punishment causes the child injury, the teacher or school employee has also committed child abuse in Ohio.

Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability is an area of law that holds an employer accountable for the actions of an employee. Under this doctrine, an employer is liable for the employee's wrongdoing when the employee is acting within the scope of their employment. This means that a school and school district may have to pay for any harm or damages caused by a teacher who uses corporal punishment.


Ohio's corporal punishment law specifically excludes a few forms of physical contact from corporal punishment. Using reasonable force to quell a disturbance that threatens physical injury, getting possession of a weapon, and protecting property are forms of forceful physical contact which are not corporal punishment in Ohio.

If you would like to know more about corporal punishment laws in Ohio, there are many attorneys throughout the state with education law experience who may be able to help.

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