The ban on corporal Punishment recently voted by New York's Board of Regents is as enlightened an educational reform as any in recent years. Striking schoolchildren who misbehave is an outmoded form of discipline.
That was acknowledged privately by a majority of the board; but it was reluctant to act because an official ban seemed to conflict with the state penal code. It includes an exemption from criminal assault charges for teachers who use corporal punishment to discipline their students.
Nonetheless, 137 of the state's 750 school systems, including New York City, outlawed corporal punishment. Now, bolstered by a legal green light from the State Attorney General, Robert Abrams, and by local boards concerned about child abuse, the Regents have finally prohibited it statewide. Public-school teachers may still use reasonable force to defend themselves or school property.
President Reagan, meanwhile, continues to push Federal efforts to maintain order in schools. He's asked Attorney General Meese and Education Secretary Bennett to explore ways to protect local school officials from personal liability lawsuits when they punish unruly students.
As of Sept. 1, such punishment in New York will not include physical beatings. It is none too soon to bring standards in all schools into the 20th century.
HAVE YOU BEEN
TO THE NEWSROOM?