Spanking in School Science and Yoga

Spanking at School - Yes or NO?

Is spanking at school a good idea? For me, this is a HARD NO. Here’s the news, science and yogic perspective on spanking. 

The news: The Cassville R-IV School District in western MO gave the ‘OK’ to bring back spanking. Using paddles as a punishment for misbehavior will begin for students whose parents opt-in with written permission — with a choice to opt out later. Swatting kids will be a last resort in private with two workers present (the spanker and a witness) and no hitting the head or face. The measure is a school board response to a survey which found that parents were worried about student behavior. Many states have outlawed corporal punishment in schools — but Missouri is one of 19 that allow it.

The science: Spanking may be an effective short-term solution to change behavior, but it’s no more effective than other non-violent methods, like a timeout. The long term impact of spanking is associated with less compliance than other forms of discipline (Gershoff, 2013). Causing physical pain can lead to fear and confusion in children who are still learning whatever their adult is trying to convey. Spanking actually backfires as a method of punishment because researchers found a consistent relationship between spanking and aggressive behavior (Gershoff & Grogan-Kaylor, 2016).

The yoga: As a yogi, the rule is: Do No Harm. Ahimsa (non-violence), the first and foremost of the five yamas (restraints) described in the Yoga Sutra. It asks us to live in such a way that we cause no harm in thought, speech, or action to any living being, including ourselves. In its pure form, ahimsa is the expression of the highest form of love—with unwavering positive regard for everyone and everything. This is a very tall order in the world, and one to aspire to. 

From these perspectives, clearly spanking is the least effective toward positive learned behavior. Children learn most effectively with loving adults who can guide them to their personal purpose, peace and power - not over others - but for the greater good.  This is The Practice. Come to yoga to learn how. 

Press PLAY to listen to this post.

Learn all sorts of useful tips about Yoga for Kids!