Action Alert: Tell Congress to Protect All Kids from Corporal Punishment


Last month, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) introduced the Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act, a bill in Congress that would ban corporal punishment—in other words, striking kids to enforce discipline—in all public and private schools. This bill’s introduction is a positive step toward ending religious privilege in policy affecting and harming children.

Many private religious schools are funded with taxpayer dollars. The students attending religious schools should be protected to the same extent as their public school counterparts. 

The Bible contains seven passages which specifically recommend the use of physical pain to discipline children. Among the more vivid of these passages are some that recommend the use of a rod to beat children—of course, the Bible also condones stonings and slavery. James Dobson, who leads the religious organization Focus on the Family with a budget over $100 million dollars, asserts, “spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely,” and that “pain is a marvelous purifier.” Dobson advocates spanking for children as young as eighteen months old. 

Make no mistake: Exempting religious private schools from a ban on corporal punishment means the government is authorizing the use of physical violence as a form of punishment for a specific set of children. Children in religious schools are no less human – and no less deserving of safety from physical harm -- than any other children.

Currently only Iowa and New Jersey ban corporal punishment in private as well as public schools, even though thirty states ban corporal punishment in public schools. Congress has the ability to regulate private schools that receive federal funds, and to ensure children in private religious schools are protected from this state-sanctioned violence like their public school counterparts. 

TAKE ACTION NOW: Ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act. Tell them that as a Secular American you want them to protect all children equally and not give special privileges to religious schools and teachers to employ this practice on their students. 

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