Lesson 4 - Corporal Punishment

In addition to the mandates of the Child Abuse Reporting Act, you should be aware of California Education Code provisions relevant to corporal punishment so that you understand the difference between physical control, which is allowed, and corporal punishment, which could be construed as physical abuse:

Click on the number to see the full California Education Code:

44807. School personnel may exercise reasonably necessary physical control over a pupil to maintain order, protect property, protect the health and safety of pupils, or maintain conditions conducive to learning.

49000. Children have the same protection against corporal punishment as adults have.

49001 (a) “Corporal punishment” means the willful infliction of physical pain on a pupil. A reasonable amount of force used to quell a disturbance threatening physical injury to persons or damage to property, to obtain control of weapons or other dangerous objects, or in self-defense, is not construed as corporal punishment. Physical pain or discomfort caused by voluntary athletic competition or recreation is not construed as corporal punishment.

49001 (b) School personnel may not inflict corporal punishment on a pupil. The CA Education Code’s prohibition of corporal punishment supersedes any other authority.


In summary, a reasonable degree of physical control, when necessary to maintain order or protect property, health and safety, is permitted. Corporal punishment is never permitted.

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