Is Paddling Legal in Louisiana Schools? The Laws Have Changed
Louisiana residents of a certain age are no strangers to the unmistakable thwack of a wooden board making a violent impact on the backside of a rebellious student. Many times, those of us who attended classes in the "dark ages" were made painfully aware that there were going to be consequences for our actions or inaction in the classroom.
As a kid I always found the practice to be quite contradictory. As students, we were told that hitting was bad and that we should use our words to settle our differences and disputes. But the same people who preached "turn the other cheek" had no issues lighting up our butt cheeks if we talked in class, were lefthanded, or did something as heinous as spoke French.
Ask your grandparents about that "speaking French" paddling, they have stories. And I personally, not in Louisiana though, was spanked for attempting to write with my left hand. I am left-handed and yes it took a visit from my parents to explain to my third-grade teacher I wasn't a spawn of satan, at least as far as they knew.
Paddling or corporal punishment is a volatile touch point when it comes to parents, students, and educators. Most school systems in Louisiana had already moved away from the practice as of the year 2020. However, there were 19 school systems that were still supporting the practice as of 2022.
In Louisiana, the law states that school systems may include such disciplines as “hitting, paddling, striking, spanking, slapping, or any other physical force that causes pain or physical discomfort,”. Legislation that was signed by Governor John Bel Edwards last year now restricts the practice.
According to the new statute physical discipline is banned at public elementary, secondary, and non-public schools that receive state funds unless the school obtains parental permission first. So, yes, paddling is allowed in Louisiana schools as long as parents have signed a corporal punishment permission slip.
Now as far as the legality of corporal punishment is concerned, the Supreme Court has ruled that it is legal under the Constitution. A 1977 case, Ingraham v. Wright was the catalyst for that ruling and as we've mentioned, more than a dozen states still allow the practice in some shape or form. And Louisiana is one of those states.
10 Most Dangerous Cities in Louisiana