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Oregon Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

The term corporal punishment refers to the use of spanking, paddling, or other limited types of physical force as a means of discipline. Most state laws address corporal punishment and either allow its use, prohibit its use, or lack statutory guidance. Some states give local school boards the authority to adopt their own corporal punishment policies and most regulations allow the parents to opt-out if they disagree with the use of force as punishment. While states differ quite a bit in how they regulate corporal punishment in public schools, any contact that causes injuries is prohibited in all states.

Overview of Corporal Punishment in Oregon Public Schools

Oregon statute expressly prohibits the use of corporal punishment in its public schools. However, the state does permit the use of "physical restraint" (not physical force) on any student who poses a threat to other students or to him or herself.

The chart below lists additional information about corporal punishment in public schools and relevant Oregon law. See FindLaw's School Discipline section for related articles and resources, including School Discipline History.

Code Section 339.250
Corporal Punishment Allowed? No. "Every resolution, bylaw, rule, ordinance, or other act of a district school board, a public charter school or the Department of Education that permits or authorizes the infliction of corporal punishment upon a student is void and unenforceable."
Circumstances Where Physical Force is Allowable Physical restraint may be used on a student who poses a threat of "imminent, serious bodily injury to the student or others" if other interventions prove ineffective

Note: State laws are always in a state of transition and may change at any time, most commonly through new legislation or decisions from higher court judges. You should contact an Oregon education law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Types of Punishment Generally Allowed in Public Schools

While corporal punishment was once the accepted method for disciplining school children, it has fallen out of favor in many states as new research has cast doubt on its effectiveness. Teachers and school administrators can use a variety of other methods to maintain order and discipline in the classroom, including:

  • Sending a student home early
  • After-school conference with the teacher and/or principal
  • Reference to an outside counselor or treatment program
  • In-school suspension or after-school detention
  • Suspension from school (however, many districts are coming to the conclusion that this is counterproductive)

Research the Law

Oregon Corporal Punishment in Public School Laws: Related Resources

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