Renowned organisations and professional individuals throughout the United States of America have joined forces and are preparing to mount a robust campaign to end corporal punishment in all schools.
No less than 84 eminent and well-established organisations, including the American Federation of Teachers, and over 200 individual professionals have signed the appeal that calls for a total ban on corporal punishment to school children in the USA.
The National Women's Law Center, which is spearheading the campaign, appealed this week to all local and state educational agencies and policymakers to "address the damaging use of corporal punishment against our nation's schoolchildren."
The letter reads: "It is important to eliminate the use of corporal punishment in both public schools and private schools, and assist in creating a safer learning environment for every child. We urge policymakers to ensure that our schools are places where students and educators interact in positive ways that foster students' growth and dignity."
In the latest statistics, more than 109,000 students were subjected to corporal punishment in US public schools in the 2013-14 school year.
The National Women's Law Center proposes that eliminating the use of corporal punishment in schools will assist in ensuring the safety of all students and educators and suggests schools and educators be given new tools to foster a positive school climate by encouraging the use of school-wide positive behaviour supports to help improve academic outcomes.
Best-selling American authoress Nadine A. Block, who has spent 25 years campaigning against corporal punishment across America and wrote the eye-opening best-selling book Breaking The Paddle: Ending School Corporal Punishment, described corporal punishment as inhumane, ineffective, archaic and inexcusable.
Block asserts that children should have the same right by law that all adults have - the right to be free from physical harm. The Bangladesh High Court shared that same vision in 2011 when Justices Md. Imman Ali and Sheikh Hassan Arif outlawed the barbaric practice of corporal punishment in Bangladesh schools and madrasahs. They described corporal punishment as "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child's fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom".
The collective hope is that 2017 will be the year that commonsense prevails, overthrows the ignorance and barbaric practices of corporal punishment, and the rights and dignity of children will be honoured and upheld.
Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor, an award-winning writer, humanitarian, and a human rights activist.