Paddle (spanking)

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A spanking paddle Paddle.jpg
A spanking paddle

A spanking paddle is an implement used to strike a person on the buttocks. The act of spanking a person with a paddle is known as "paddling". A paddling may be for punishment (normally of a student at school in the United States), or as an initiation or hazing ritual.



A paddle has two parts: a handle and a blade. Most paddles are designed to be held with one hand, but a giant paddle may be designed to be held with two hands. [1] The blade is typically 3 to 4 inches (100 mm) wide, 1/4-inch thick, and 1 to 3 feet (0.91 m) in length.

In the great majority of cases, the paddle is aimed at the recipient's buttocks. Less commonly, the back of the thighs might also be targeted. [2]

Paddles for use in schools are made of wood, or occasionally plastic. [3] Paddles used for school punishments may be roughly hewn from commonly available wood. [4] Occasionally, paddles may have holes drilled into them, so there is less air drag when the paddle approaches the buttocks, and produces more pain. The paddles used for fraternity and sorority initiation ceremonies are often professionally made and engraved with organizational symbols and slogans. [5]

History of the paddle

Illustration of a paddle being used for the punishment of slaves. Spanking paddle invented to beat slaves.jpg
Illustration of a paddle being used for the punishment of slaves.

The paddle may have been originally invented for the punishment of slaves as a way of causing intense pain without doing any permanent damage to the recipient. [6] It is not only in former slave states that the paddle has been used in schools. It is not known why or exactly when it became the normal implement for corporal punishment in US schools. There are, however , instances of paddling using similar implements with individuals who were not slaves.[ citation needed ]

Scope of use

1912 illustration of an inmate being punished in an American prison Punishment of the Paddle, 1912.jpg
1912 illustration of an inmate being punished in an American prison

Paddling was mainly used in many parts of the United States (and still is, in a few areas) as a means to discipline misbehaving school students. Paddling has also been used in some homes to punish children and teenagers. [7] [8] The results of a national household survey indicate that paddling is a discipline technique that 10% of parents are "very likely to use". The percentage of parents who say that they are very likely to paddle increases to 12% when involving teenagers. [9]

Paddling as punishment in U.S. schools

The paddle is the almost invariable implement in US schools that still allow corporal punishment for student misconduct. Some paddles have traditionally had holes bored in them for aerodynamic effect, [10] but many schools nowadays prohibit the use of such paddles. [11] [12]

Paddling typically causes a slight reddening of the skin but in some cases can cause bruises that are "visible for approximately two weeks". [13] Whether or not particular bruises constitute evidence of "serious injury" or "abuse" [14] or "child maltreatment" [15] depends on individual circumstances and can ultimately be settled only by a court of law.

There have been cases in the past when paddling was administered incorrectly or excessively. Partly in order to avoid this danger, in the majority of U.S. schools, paddling is more strictly regulated than in the past, many schools publishing detailed rules in their student handbooks. [16] It is usually a requirement that a professional witness be present. Currently, there is often a maximum of three swats (or "licks" or "pops"). In the past, paddlings of up to 30 [17] licks were not unknown, especially in rural schools.[ citation needed ] Practice has gradually moved from paddlings in the classroom or hallway to paddlings administered out of the sight of other students, typically in the principal's office. "Hallway" paddlings could typically be seen by other students, administrators or even outsiders visiting the school.

In 1981, a 17-year-old student claimed bleeding wounds as a result of a school paddling. [18] It was alleged that the assistant principal who had administered the punishment had held and swung the paddle with two hands. [19] In order to prevent such claims, a school district currently may choose to require the handle of a spanking paddle to be "just large enough for a normal one-hand grip". [20] Or a rule might provide that the handle shall not be more than 4 inches (100 mm) long (just large enough to be held with one hand). [21]

In 1982, a nine-year-old student was hit with a wooden paddle that was cracked. [22] This caused a bleeding wound that became a permanent scar. To avoid this, nowadays some school districts have adopted rules which prohibit using paddles that have cracks in them. For example, the policies of Bloomfield School District provide that, "Corporal punishment will be administered by spanking the buttocks of a student with a flat-surfaced paddle which is smoothly sanded and has no cracks or holes and that will cause no more than temporary pain and not inflict permanent damage to the body." [23]

A paddling is typically administered with two or more school employees present. The student may be ordered to bend over a chair [24] or desk [25] and, in that position, receive the prescribed number of strokes of the paddle. Paddling usually occurs in an office but may sometimes occur in a hallway. The punishment is delivered across the seat of the student's trousers or skirt.

In order to avoid allegations of sexual abuse, many school districts require that a female teacher be present during the paddling of a female student. [26] A school might also recommend "that female staff members administer corporal punishment to female students (middle and high school)". [27] Or a school board might prescribe that a "female principal(s) or designee shall spank or paddle female students" and that a "male principal(s) or designee shall spank or paddle male students." [28]

As of April 2011, 19 states allow corporal punishment in public schools. See School corporal punishment in the United States for further information.

Social discipline

Other play and traditions

Practitioners of erotic spanking using a paddle BDSM couple with spanking paddle.jpg
Practitioners of erotic spanking using a paddle

The paddle is also a favorite implement for non-disciplinary "fun" spankings such as "birthday spankings," as also for paddle games (such as trading blows) or a spanking pyramid or paddle machine. A paddle machine can be used in conjunction with a spanking bench. Numerous celebrities, including Jessica Jaymes, Jennifer Krum, Haydn Porter, Tabitha Stevens and Victoria Zdrok, have mounted Howard Stern's spanking bench to be paddled by his paddle machine, the "Robospanker". [33] Paddles are also used by practitioners of erotic spanking.

See also

Related Research Articles

Erotic spanking act of spanking another person for the sexual arousal or gratification of either or both parties

Erotic spanking is the act of spanking another person for the sexual arousal or gratification of either or both parties. It may involve very light and brief spanking or much more extensive spanking, including the use of implements such as whips or paddles. Activities range from a spontaneous smack on bare buttocks during a sexual activity, to occasional sexual roleplay, such as ageplay, to domestic discipline and may involve the use of a hand or the use of a variety of spanking implements, such as a spanking paddle or cane. Erotic spankings are commonly combined with other forms of sexual foreplay. The most common type of erotic spanking is administered on the bare buttocks, but can also be combined with bondage, in order to heighten the sexual stimulation of the experience.

Spanking corporal punishment involving the act of striking the buttocks of another person

Spanking is a common form of corporal punishment, involving the act of striking the buttocks of another person to cause physical pain, generally with an open hand. More severe forms of spanking, such as switching, paddling, belting, caning, whipping, and birching, involve the use of an object instead of a hand.

Corporal punishment form of physical punishment that involves pain

Corporal punishment or physical punishment is a punishment intended to cause physical pain to a person. It is most often practised on minors, especially in home and school settings. Common methods include spanking or paddling. It has also historically been used on adults, particularly on prisoners and enslaved people. Other common methods include flagellation.

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Caning form of corporal punishment

Caning is a form of corporal punishment consisting of a number of hits with a single cane usually made of rattan, generally applied to the offender's bare or clothed buttocks or hand(s). Caning on the knuckles or shoulders is much less common. Caning can also be applied to the soles of the feet. The size and flexibility of the cane and the mode of application, as well as the number of the strokes, vary greatly — from a couple of light strokes with a small cane across the seat of a junior schoolboy's trousers, to a maximum of 24, very hard, wounding cuts on the bare buttocks with a large, heavy, soaked rattan as a judicial punishment in some Southeast Asian countries.

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A slippering is a term for the act of smacking the buttocks, or the hands, with a slipper as a form of corporal punishment. A slippering on the buttocks is a form of spanking; it is a much more common method than slippering on the hands. The verb "to slipper" means "to give a slippering". Until at least the 1970s, slippering was widely used by British parents as a means of punishing children and adolescents. The routine nature of such punishment is demonstrated by the frequency with which comics of the day showed scenes in which characters such as Dennis the Menace, Roger the Dodger, Minnie the Minx and Beryl the Peril were slippered by an irate parent. There has been very little data, research or evidence compiled about the use of slippering. Information is mainly based on anecdotal reports from individuals who have given, received, or observed slipperings, or who have been in households or schools where slipperings were used. Slipperings are particularly associated with Britain and Commonwealth countries, although not exclusively so.

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Corporal punishment in Taiwan

Corporal punishment is banned in the penal and education systems of the Republic of China (Taiwan), but there are no laws banning its use in the home.

<i>Ingraham v. Wright</i> United States Supreme Court case

Ingraham vs. Wright, 430 U.S. 651 (1977), was a United States Supreme Court case that upheld the disciplinary corporal punishment policy of Florida's public schools by a 5–4 vote.

Strapping (punishment)

Strapping refers to the use of a strap as an implement of corporal punishment. It is typically a broad and heavy strip of leather, often with a hard handle, the more flexible 'blade' being applied to the offender.

School corporal punishment physical punishing of pupil at school

School corporal punishment refers to inflicting deliberate physical and emotional pain or discomfort in response to undesired behavior by students in schools. It often involves striking the student either across the buttocks or palms of their hands with a tool such as a rattan cane, wooden paddle, slipper, leather strap or wooden yardstick. Less commonly, it could also include spanking or smacking the student with the open hand, especially at the primary school and junior secondary school levels.

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Drew Central High School is a public secondary school in Monticello, Arkansas, United States. It is part of Drew Central School District, which serves rural Drew County and a small section of Monticello. It in a section of the Monticello city limits that is within the Drew Central Schools boundaries, adjacent to the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM). It, along with other schools in the district, resides on 31 acres (13 ha) of land leased by the university to the school district. Dependent minor residents of the UAM housing for married students and students with families, HHFA Apartments, are assigned to this district.

Judicial corporal punishment Punitive practice

Judicial corporal punishment (JCP) is the infliction of corporal punishment as a result of a sentence by a court of law. The punishments include caning, bastinado, birching, whipping, or strapping. The practice was once commonplace in many countries, but over time it has been abolished in most countries, although still remaining a form of legal punishment in some countries including a number of former British colonies and Muslim-majority states.

Physical or corporal punishment by a parent or other legal guardian is any act causing deliberate physical pain or discomfort to a minor child in response to some undesired behavior. It typically takes the form of spanking or slapping the child with an open hand or striking with an implement such as a belt, slipper, cane, hairbrush or paddle, hanger, and can also include shaking, pinching, forced ingestion of substances, or forcing children to stay in uncomfortable positions.

School corporal punishment in the United States

Corporal punishment, also referred to as "physical punishment" or "physical discipline," is defined as using physical force, no matter how light, to cause deliberate bodily pain or discomfort in response to some undesired behavior. In schools in the United States, this takes the form of a teacher or school principal striking the student's buttocks with a wooden paddle.

Corporal punishment of minors in the United States

Corporal punishment of minors in the United States, meaning the infliction of physical pain or discomfort by parents or other adult guardians, including in some cases school officials, for purposes of punishing unacceptable behavior, is subject to varying legal limits, depending on the state. Minor children in the United States commonly experience some form of corporal punishment, such as spanking or paddling. Despite opposition from medical and social-services professionals, as of 2016 the spanking of children is legal in all states and as of 2014 most people still believe it is acceptable provided it does not involve implements. Corporal punishment is in the United States usually considered distinct from illegal child abuse, although the distinction can often be vague.


  1. Image of a very large spanking paddle that was designed to be held with two hands.
  2. "The act of punishment is to be conducted in such a manner that the area of contact will lie between and include the buttocks and the back of the thigh". Student Handbook [ permanent dead link ] (2009), p. 19. Tipton County Schools, Tennessee.
  3. "Corporal punishment shall be administered using an instrument (paddle) made of wood or plastic of reasonable width, length, and thickness. (The paddle shall not be more than 1/4" x 3" x 18".)" Policy On Line: Student Discipline [ permanent dead link ], p. 2. Tyler independent school District, Texas.
  4. Image of a roughly hewn schoolhouse paddle.
  5. Image of a decorated sorority paddle from a fictional spanking film.
  6. Scott, George Ryley (1938). The history of corporal punishment: a survey of flagellation in its historical, anthropological, and sociological aspects, 2nd Edition, T. W. Laurie, London.
  7. Dad Found Not Guilty In Paddling Case. Archived 25 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine WLWT, News 5, Cincinnati, Ohio. 17 February 2010.
  8. In 2005, a father in Minnesota used a paddle to strike his son 36 times. Minnesota Supreme Court [ permanent dead link ], 30 May 2008.
  9. C.S. Mott Children's Hospital (2010). "Speak or Spank? More Parents Choose Reasoning Than Physical Discipline". Archived 7 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine National Poll on Children's Health, Vol. 9, Issue 4, 16 April 2010.
  10. Human Rights Watch (2008). A Violent Education: Corporal Punishment of Children in US Public Schools, p. 17.
  11. "A paddle made of wood with no holes or splinters shall be used in administering corporal punishment..." Rapides Parish School Board (2005). Parish Policy Handbook and Student Code of Conduct. [ permanent dead link ]
  12. "The punishment shall consist of no more than three swats on the buttocks with a smooth surface paddle free of holes and/or cracks." Calhoun County Schools. 2006–2007 Student Handbook and Code of Student Conduct. Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  13. Harrison, Mark. "Lawsuit filed over paddling incident". Times-Journal, DeKalb County, Alabama, 20 July 2011.
  14. In re: C.B., J.B., Th.B., & Ti.B. Archived 10 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine , North Carolina Court of Appeals, 15 August 2006.
  15. Arkansas Department of Human Services v. Shelly Holman Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine , Arkansas Court of Appeals, 4 October 2006.
  16. Corporal punishment regulations of individual schools or school districts (external links to present-day school handbooks) at World Corporal Punishment Research.
  17. "Paddling Charge Dropped; School Bell Rings Again". Evening Independent, 19 April 1960, p. 3-A.
  18. Testimony of Shelly S. Gaspersohn at a meeting of the United States Senate's Subcommittee on Juvenile Justice, 17 October 1984.
  19. Gaspersohn v. Harnett County Board of Education and Glenn Varney; North Carolina Court of Appeals, Volume 75, page 34 (1985).
  20. Santa Rosa County School District (2009). Code of Student Conduct, Archived 2 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine p. 59.
  21. Alexander City Schools (2010). Student/Parent Information Guide and Code of Conduct, 2009–2010 School Year, Archived 24 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine p. 47.
  22. Garcia v. Miera. United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, 28 April 1987.
  23. See the fifth paragraph of section J-4661 of the Policy Manual and Administrative Regulations Archived 4 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine of the Bloomfield School District, New Mexico.
  24. "He [a school principal] told her [an 18-year-old student] to bend over a chair with her buttocks raised." Sacks, Deana Pollard (2009). "State Actors Beating Children: A Call For Judicial Relief". Archived 12 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine University of California Davis Law Review, 42, p. 1167.
  25. "The force of the blow caused Bria to lose her grip on the desk and fall against it". Hyman, Irwin A, and Snook, Pamela A (1999). Dangerous Schools: What We Can Do About the Physical and Emotional Abuse of Our Children, p. 20. Jossey-Bass Publishers, New York, NY; ISBN   0-7879-4363-0, ISBN   978-0-7879-4363-9.
  26. The Burke County Public Schools paddling policy Archived 14 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine provides that, "In the event of corporal punishment being administered to a female student, a female teacher shall at all times be present".
  27. St. Johns County School District (2010). Student Code of Conduct 2010–2011 Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine , p. 34.
  28. Chapel Hill ISD Board Amends Corporal Punishment Policy. Archived 29 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine Television station KYTX, 22 April 2009.
  29. 'Paddle Lines' at David R. Francis Quadrangle, "Mizzou Traditions" web page.
  30. Smith, Emily E. "Animal House-style Hazing: 'He was paddled so hard he needed medical treatment'" Archived 28 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine . The Blaze, 22 April 2011.
  31. Sorority pledges are paddled during the movie Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988).
  32. "State Anti-Hazing Laws". Educating to Eliminate Hazing. Archived from the original on 22 April 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  33. Image Archived 11 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine of Haydn Porter Archived 13 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine kneeling on a spanking bench and being paddled by a paddle machine during A Spanking New Year, the 4 January 2007 episode of The Howard Stern Show.