2019 Session: Bill would ban corporal punishment on students with disabilities

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A new bill would ban the use of corporal punishment on students with disabilities. 

Arkansas is one of 19 states where it is still legal to hit public school children as a form of punishment.

Throughout her work on the legislation, St. Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, found a lot of people don’t realize corporal punishment also applies to students with disabilities.

During the last session in 2017, Elliott tried to get rid of corporal punishment in schools altogther, but she was the only yes vote so the bill didn’t make it out of committee.

Elliott is coming back this session with something she hopes has better success. She said she knows many still disagree with her but argues the research is on her side that this kind of discipline is not an effective way to change a child’s behavior.

“That is just so centrally important, I think, for having kids know how to get along in the world and not think things have to be physical,” Elliott said. “For example, we teach kids on the playground to be nice to each other, don’t hit one another, have good playground skills. I think we should model that.”

Elliott plans to run the legislation for the first time next week.

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