Americans approve of spanking, but not in school

February 24, 2014, 4:11 PM GMT+0

A recent definition of appropriate corporal punishment on children by the Kansas legislature is seen as too severe - but only just

Last week the Kansas state legislature discussed a bill seeking to define corporal punishment guidelines for parents and teachers. The bill was defeated, but included a detailed description of acceptable corporal punishment:

"'Corporal punishment' means up to ten forceful applications in succession of a bare, open-hand palm against the clothed buttocks of a child and any such reasonable physical force on the child as may be necessary to hold, restrain or control the child in the course of maintaining authority over the child, acknowledging that redness or bruising may occur on the tender skin of a child as a result."

According to the latest YouGov research, many people (42%) think the definition of corporal punishment in the bill was too harsh. However, nearly a third of Americans (30%) think that this definition is 'just right', while 23% are not sure. A further 6% think the description is too lenient.

Though 30% of people think that the above definition is just right, a majority of Americans (65%) do not think that grade-school teachers should be permitted to spank children at school. Women (73%), Northeasterners (73%), and Democrats (74%) were most likely to say spanking should not be permitted in grade schools. While Republicans (28%) and Southerners (28%) were the most likely to say that spanking should be permitted in grade-schools.

In general, younger Americans have much lower approval for spanking. People 18-29 were the least likely to approve of spanking at 43%. In all other age groups a majority of people approve of spanking, with those 65 and older the most likely to approve (74%).

Though the Kansas bill was the subject of some controversy, it is not the only state to allow spanking in public schools. Currently 19 states allow spanking in schools, though the number has been steadily dropping since 1980 when nearly all 50 states allowed it.

Full poll results can be found here.

Join YouGov today! Your views can shape the news..