Virginia - Corporal Punishment: Prohibitions or Restrictions

Area: 
Prohibitions Or Restrictions
Policy Type: 
regulation; statute
Summary: 

State law prohibits the use of corporal punishment for disciplinary purposes without exception.

Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-671-660. Managing Student Behavior in Emergency Situations.

A. Each school shall have written policies and procedures made available annually to students, parents, and placing agencies that include, but are not limited to:

    1. A statement that corporal punishment and abusive techniques and interventions are not authorized, permitted, or condoned.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.1. Corporal punishment prohibited.

A. No teacher, principal or other person employed by a school board or employed in a school operated by the Commonwealth shall subject a student to corporal punishment. This prohibition of corporal punishment shall not be deemed to prevent (i) the use of incidental, minor or reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain order and control; (ii) the use of reasonable and necessary force to quell a disturbance or remove a student from the scene of a disturbance which threatens physical injury to persons or damage to property; (iii) the use of reasonable and necessary force to prevent a student from inflicting physical harm on himself; (iv) the use of reasonable and necessary force for self-defense or the defense of others; or (v) the use of reasonable and necessary force to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects or controlled substances or paraphernalia which are upon the person of the student or within his control.
B. In determining whether a person was acting within the exceptions provided in this section, due deference shall be given to reasonable judgments at the time of the event which were made by a teacher, principal or other person employed by a school board or employed in a school operated by the Commonwealth.
C. For the purposes of this section, "corporal punishment" means the infliction of, or causing the infliction of, physical pain on a student as a means of discipline.
This definition shall not include physical pain, injury or discomfort caused by the use of incidental, minor or reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain order and control as permitted in subdivision (i) of subsection A of this section or the use of reasonable and necessary force as permitted by subdivisions (ii), (iii), (iv), and (v) of subsection A of this section, or by participation in practice or competition in an interscholastic sport, or participation in physical education or an extracurricular activity.


Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-671-650. Prohibitions.

The following actions are prohibited:

  1. Restraint and seclusion, except when it is necessary to protect the student or others from personal harm, injury, or death and other less restrictive interventions were unsuccessful;
  2. Prone "face down" restraints, mechanical restraints, pharmacological restraints, and any other restraint that restricts breathing or harms the child or interferes with the child's ability to communicate;
  3. Deprivation of drinking water or food;
  4. Limitation on contacts and visits from the student's probation officer, social worker, placing agency representative, or other service provider as appropriate;
  5. Any action that is humiliating, degrading, or abusive;
  6. Corporal punishment;
  7. Deprivation of approved prescription medication or other necessary services;
  8. Denial of access to toilet facilities;
  9. Application of aversive stimuli;
  10. Strip and body cavity searches; and
  11. Discipline, restraint, or implementation of behavior management plans by other students.
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