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Annual survey on corporal punishment conducted in Arkansas



Little Rock, Arkansas – The yearly Arkansas Poll is a valuable tool for gauging the opinions of prospective voters throughout the state. Over time, the poll’s results have changed on a number of issues.

This survey, which has been conducted for more than 20 years, covers a number of significant Arkansas issues, including physical punishment.

For the past 25 years, the Arkansas poll has surveyed about 800 randomly selected Arkansans each fall. It represents the opinions of probable voters.

“Elections only occur every two to four years and even then most people don’t participate in state-level elections which is where the majority of public policy is happening. So this is a way more frequent than elections allow for us to speak to our policymakers and for our policymakers to find out what we want,” Poll Director, Dr. Janine Parry said.

Arkansas has not implemented corporal punishment in its schools, in contrast to other states. More than 60% of respondents were in support of the poll in 2009; presently, more than 50% are against it.

“Generally speaking, women are strongly opposed to corporal punishment in the schools and men tend to not be as opposed to it. Rural residents tend to be more comfortable or accustomed to spanking in schools as an authorized form of punishment. And the folks in urban and suburban areas are less so. Democrats and left-leaning independents think that that’s an antiquated way to discipline children or to change behavior, whereas republicans and folks who are more conservative are more likely to support that traditional form of discipline,” Parry said.

According to Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, the use of physical punishment should be completely eliminated.

“We’ve been pushing for the last 10-15 years against this to try to eliminate that as well as looking holistically at the way that we handle school discipline in Arkansas and corporal punishment is definitely a piece of that,” Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Education Policy Director, Olivia Gardner said.

The Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families state that the sole legislation that forbids corporal punishment was passed in 2019 and forbids punishing children who have significant disabilities.

Gardner expressed their happiness at the shifting opinions as a result of the poll.


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