Majority of Americans Still Support The Use of Spanking

As corporal punishment resurfaced in the news recently, the polling aggregation website FiveThirtyEight examined Americans' views of spanking, using data from the General Social Survey (GSS) going back to 1986.

The surveys indicate that while spanking has become less popular over time, 70 percent of Americans still agree that it's an acceptable form of punishment.

The data also indicate that opinions on spanking vary by race, religion, region, and party.  Specifically, support for spanking appears higher among Blacks, born-again Christians, Republicans, as well as in the South.
"There’s some overlap here, obviously. There are a lot of Republicans in the South, for example, so saying the South favors spanking and Republicans favor spanking is somewhat redundant. But all of the differences in these charts hold, even when controlling for the variables in the other charts. That is, put each of these variables into a regression, and it shows that the differences are real — the South, for example, isn’t more pro-spanking than the Northeast simply because there are more Republicans in the South."

According to the Center for Effective Discipline, 31 states have banned corporal punishment in schools.  Of the 19 who still allow it, most are located in the South.  Department of Education statistics show that a disproportionate number of the students who receive corporal punishment at school are male and Black:
"Estimates from the Department of Education’s 2006 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) show a total of 223,190 students without disabilities received corporal punishment nationwide that year, 78.26% of whom were male. Among that number, black students were also targeted disproportionately — 35.67% received corporal punishment, although they only made up 17.13% of the student population."

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Frederique Laubepin

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