The Mississippi Coalition to end Corporal Punishment, along with other public policy groups, is making efforts to end state-sanctioned corporal punishment in Mississippi.
The MSCECP recently conducted a panel at the 77th Annual Mississippi NAACP State Convention and Policy Institute in Jackson to make public officials more aware of their efforts and to broaden support.
The panel included experts from the Federal School Discipline and Climate Coalition and the Intercultural Development Research Association, officials said.
Ellen Reddy, executive director of Nollie Jenkins Family center, which facilitates the coalition, said Mississippi leads the nation in corporal punishment and is one of 19 states that still permit corporal punishment in schools despite efforts by leading practitioners and children’s rights advocates to abolish the practice.
“The prevalence of this practice in Mississippi, and the disproportionate impact on Black children makes our participation in the Mississippi NAACP State Conference this year even more critical,” Reddy said. “Corporal punishment is harmful, and it hurts our children. It has adverse harm when it comes to academic performance, mental illness, and children’s well-being.
“Schools are the only public institution that legalizes hitting a student for corporal punishment.”
Reddy said school teachers and administrators should not have access to hit children under the thin guidelines of corporal punishment in Mississippi, which could lead to deeper concepts.
“Children can’t be hit in foster care homes, early childhood learning centers, residential treatment facilities, mental health programs, or juvenile detention centers,” Reddy said. “MSCECP is seeking to end corporal punishment in school for all students.
“In 2018 we ended corporate punishment in Holmes County, but our end goal is to end the state-sanctioned punishment collectively.”
According to the MSCECP, 68,000 children in the U.S. were hit with an object such as a wooden paddle, as a form of school discipline during the 2017-18 school year, the most recent year that data is available
Nearly 30% of those students were Mississippi schoolchildren, MSCECP said.
Sherry Wright, program director of One Voice, an organizational member of the MSCEC, said more than 70 districts use corporal punishment in schools across Mississippi.
“This practice is unfairly used on Black students as 51% of Black students are more likely to have experienced corporal punishment while in school,” Wright said. “We are hoping through education and community engagement at events like the Mississippi NAACP state convention we can continue to garner support to help us end this ineffective and archaic practice that threatens the safety of our students and communities.”
Reddy said the MSCECP seeks to broaden its support by meeting with local organizations, education and outreach programs.
Officials said the goal for the remainder of the year is to end state-sanctioned violence.
For more information, visit https://www.mscoalitiontoendcorporalpunishment.org.
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