N.Y. (WETM) — New York State just banned the use of corporal punishment in private schools and is now one of just a few states to outlaw the practice in all schools.

A bill that prohibits teachers, administrators, officers, and all other school agents and employees from using physical force against students in all schools was signed into law on Oct. 25 and went into effect immediately. The use of corporal punishment was banned in public schools in 1985 but had been allowed in private schools until this past Wednesday.

“Corporal punishment is an inhumane and counterproductive form of discipline and has no place in New York’s educational settings,” states the bill. “Scientific studies have shown that students exposed to corporal punishment exhibit lower test scores and increased chances of behavioral disorders, experience more feelings of inadequacy and resentment, may be more aggressive and violent, and demonstrate reduced problem-solving abilities, social competence and academic achievement”

The new legislation also classifies using corporal punishment against students as child abuse. Any act of physical force against a student that is used as a punishment, including spanking, hitting with objects, or forcing students to perform physically painful activities, is considered child abuse. According to the New York State Education Department, reasonable uses of physical force, like protecting oneself or others, are not considered to be corporal punishment.

Corporal punishment is currently legal in public schools in 17 states. New York has joined New Jersey, Iowa, and Maryland as being the only states to explicitly ban the practice in all schools.