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68% of Parents With School-Age Kids Think They Should Be Able to Choose School with Spanking

Friday, February 21, 2014

Americans believe overwhelmingly that parents have the right to spank their own children but feel nearly as strongly that teachers don’t. Most parents, however, think they should be able to send their kids to a school that allows disciplinary spanking if they want to.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% of American Adults think parents should have a choice between sending their children to a school where disciplinary spanking is allowed and a school where spanking is not allowed. Only 25% disagree, but 18% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Among those with children of elementary or secondary school age, 68% believe parents should have such a choice.

Eighty percent (80%) of all Americans think parents should have the right to spank their own children, a view shared by 84% of those who have children living with them. Ten percent (10%) of adults disagree, and another 10% are not sure.

But just 21% believe teachers should have the right to spank children in their class. Seventy percent (70%) do not think teachers should be allowed to do disciplinary spanking of students. Opposition is slightly lower among those with school-age children; these parents are a bit more undecided.

Five percent (5%) of all adults say parents who spank their children should be charged with child abuse. Eighty-two percent (82%) disagree. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure.

Ten percent (10%) favor laws proposed in some states that would make it illegal for parents to spank their children. Seventy-two percent (72%) oppose such laws, while 18% are not sure about them.

Support for spanking by both parents and teachers is down slightly from the only other time Rasmussen Reports surveyed on this issue in December 2007.

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The survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted on February 19-20, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology

Most voters continue to think parents should be able to choose between schools based on such things as uniforms, prayer and how long the school year lasts.

Not surprisingly, parents of school-age children believe even more strongly than Americans in general that parents who spank their children should not be charged with child abuse. They also more strongly oppose laws that would make it illegal for parents to spank their children.

Men and women are in general agreement that parents should have the right to spank their children, but while 29% of men think teachers should have the right to spank children, only 13% of women agree. 

Generally speaking, the older the adult, the less likely they are to support parental choice when it comes to schools that allow spanking. But younger Americans are more likely than those 40 and over to oppose spanking by both parents and teachers.

Blacks believe even more strongly than whites and other minority adults that parents should have the right to spank their own children and also are much stronger supporters of teacher spankings than the others are.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of all Americans say the quality of life for children today is worse than it was a generation ago. Just 29% think it’s better.

Eighty-five percent (85%) believe parents play the biggest role in determining the future success and happiness of a child.

Ninety-five percent (95%) think it is at least somewhat important for children to grow up in a home with both parents, with 73% who say it is Very Important.

Only 22% of voters now rate the performance of public schools in America as good or excellent.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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