Spanking Outlawed in New Mexico: No Ifs, Ands or Butts

Filed under: In The News

spanking ban in new mexico

This isn't the '50s anymore! Credit: Getty Images

"Talking out of turn, that's a paddling," a substitute teacher tells Lisa's third-grade class in an episode of "The Simpsons." "Looking out the window, that's paddling. Staring at my sandals, that's a paddling. Paddling the school canoe, oh you better believe that's a paddling."

You can't say those sorts of things in New Mexico anymore. Stare at old men's sandals and paddle the school canoe all you want, kids. The New Mexico Legislature has outlawed spanking in public schools.

Reuters reports New Mexico joins 30 other states in banning the practice. Apparently, it wasn't a huge change. Two-thirds of the state's school districts already prohibit spanking, but opponents of the bill that squeaked by the Legislature say that's the point.

To spank or not to spank should be a decision left to local districts, they say. Others contend teachers and administrators still need the "board" of education to maintain discipline.

However, the bill passed the New Mexico House 36 to 31 and the state Senate 22 to 17.

Tara Ford, co-director of the nonprofit Pegasus Legal Services for Children, tells Reuters there were 705 school spankings in New Mexico in 2006 -- the last year such statistics were kept.

Poor and minority children and children with disabilities -- including autism -- are more likely than other kids to get spanked, Jim Jackson, executive director of Disability Rights New Mexico, tells Reuters.

"The use of corporal punishment gives the wrong message on how to influence behavior," Ford tells the news service. "We need to show kids how to resolve problems without resorting to violence."

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.