A report by the Society for Research in Child Development finds over 160,000 students in 19 states, including Louisiana, where kids are being subjected to corporal punishment in their schools every year.

Developmental Psychologist with the University of Texas, Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff, says African American children are 50% more likely to be smacked than white students.

“Black children in particular are being singled out more for this harsh form of punishment more than other children and there is nothing to suggest that they’re misbehaving more.”

Gershoff says she decided to do this research to alert the public, because many people are surprised corporal punishment is still legal in some schools. She hopes this will get parents to address this issue.

“People who think that it shouldn’t be used anymore could do something about, could talk to their principles, talk to their school boards, talk to their state representatives about changing that, hopefully banning it from schools.”

Her research found one in five Louisiana schools still use corporal punishment, with the majority being in rural areas. Gershoff says there were almost 5,000 students paddled in the 2013-2014 school year, which is the latest data available. She says even when some parents get upset after discovering their child is spanked at school, the lawsuits are usually unsuccessful.

“The school district and the school personnel are found not to have done anything wrong mostly because it’s legal in the state, including Louisiana.”