Education Law

New Mexico Rules on Corporal Punishment in Schools

By E.A. Gjelten, Author and Editor
New Mexico prohibits corporal punishment in public schools, including charter schools.

Paddling, spanking, and other forms of corporal punishment used to be common in classrooms. But as views about the wisdom of hitting children changed over time, many states passed laws prohibiting or restricting the practice in their schools. By now, states banning corporal punishment in schools are in the majority. New Mexico is one of those states.

Below is a summary of New Mexico rules on corporal punishment in schools. (Because states can change these rules any time, it’s always a good idea to check the current laws and regulations using this search tool.)

No Corporal Punishment, Period

New Mexico prohibits the use of corporal punishment in its public schools (including charter schools) as a means of enforcing rules of conduct. The law doesn't include any exceptions. (N.M. Stat. §22-5-4.3(B), N.M. Admin. Code §

What Exactly Is Corporal Punishment?

New Mexico’s education laws and regulations don’t give a definition of corporal punishment, but international human rights law defines it as any punishment involving physical force that’s meant to cause some amount of pain or discomfort.

What About Private Schools?

Because the ban on corporal punishment applies only to public schools, private schools in New Mexico are free to adopt their own policies on the practice.

Talking to Your Lawyer

Consider talking to a lawyer about your legal options if a principal, teacher, coach, or other school employee has hurt your child in the course of discipline or an attempt to control disruptive behavior. An attorney experienced in a field like personal injury or education law should be able to explain the legal reasons (or “grounds”) you might have for a civil lawsuit against the responsible employee and/or the school, including:

And if you believe that schools officials used improper discipline because of your child’s disabilities, an attorney experienced in civil rights or disability law can explain the federal and state laws that apply to your situation, including the possibility of suing the school district for violating these laws.
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