A study on middle Tennessee public and private school principals' beliefs about corporal punishment

Barbara Jean Harris Williams, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this research was to determine the corporal punishment beliefs of public and private school principals in middle Tennessee as measured by the Corporal Punishment Scale developed by Kiernan (1993). Data were gathered via a random sampling scheme and treated with the Chi square technique to determine possible differences at the.05 level of significance. Related analyses revealed that experience of principals in study public and private schools had no impact on their opinions concerning the constructs of religious beliefs, legal perspectives, cultural beliefs and opinions about effectiveness. Principals with ten or fewer years of experience responded similarly to those with more than ten years of experience. Also, while corporal punishment was available in 90% of the public schools selected for this study, only 43% of them chose to use it. Conversely, corporal punishment was permitted in 43% of study private schools and 67% of these chose to impose it. Responses from the public and private school principals concerning "Should corporal punishment be banned?" were very similar. Fewer of the public school principals reported that corporal punishment was used in their school than true for their private counterparts. Other differences existed between public and private school principals regarding whether or not corporal punishment was an effective tool or could become one. Public principals agreed, by a significant margin over their private counterparts, that corporal punishment was or could be an effective tool in discipline. On the other hand, the majority of all principals agreed that corporal punishment should not be banned throughout the U.S. and should only be allowed when administered by school administrators. These findings suggested that many principals who don't use corporal punishment nor believe in using it, still make use of the threat of its existence.

Subject Area

School administration|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Barbara Jean Harris Williams, "A study on middle Tennessee public and private school principals' beliefs about corporal punishment" (1997). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI9821874.