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In the movies we can see Snape smacking Harry and Ron several times. Is this acceptable?

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    Probably--British public schools (~=US private schools) have a long history of violent corporal punishment, and teachers are allowed to make students write with evil quills and send them to the Forbidden Forest. A simple Gibbs-slap is nothing. – MissMonicaE Mar 22 '17 at 14:15
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    @MissMonicaE "Evil quills" were only permitted under Umbridge's regime (who probably also endorses other corporal punishments like smacking). I wonder if Dumbledore allowed slaps. – tobiasvl Mar 22 '17 at 14:18
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    (False) Professor Moddy would tell you that a mere smack is nothing ! Transforming students into animals and hitting them repeatidly against the ground, that's the real thing ! – Nygael Mar 22 '17 at 14:19
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    @MissMonicaE "were allowed" but no longer. It happened in state schools as well. – Francis Davey Mar 22 '17 at 21:57
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    I keep seeing this in the HNQ and read it as "Are Hogwards teachers allowed to hit on students". I don't know why. – Sidney Mar 23 '17 at 14:22
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In general it is not allowed but finally it comes down to who is running the school.

Dumbledore was against it:

Professor Umbridge seized Marietta, pulled her round to face her and began shaking her very hard. A split second later Dumbledore was on his feet, his wand raised; Kingsley started forwards and Umbridge leapt back from Marietta, waving her hands in the air as though they had been burned.

"I cannot allow you to manhandle my students, Dolores," said Dumbledore

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27, The Centaur and the Sneak

Professor McGonagall was against it:

“Teach - Moody, is that a student?” shrieked Professor McGonagall, the books spilling out of her arms.

“Yep,” said Moody.

“No!” cried Professor McGonagall, running down the stairs and pulling out her wand; a moment later, with a loud snapping noise, Draco Malfoy had reappeared, lying in a heap on the floor with his sleek blond hair all over his now brilliantly pink face. He got to his feet, wincing.

We give detentions, Moody! Or speak to the offender's Head of House!

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, Chapter 13, Mad Eye Moody

We also see that during Dumbledore's and Professor McGonagall's absence, things were lot different.

Umbridge was planning to pass Educational Decree Twenty-nine, which allowed Filch to punish students.

'Yerse… I've been telling Dumbledore for years and years he's too soft with you all,' said Filch, chuckling nastily. 'You filthy little beasts would never have dropped Stink Pellets if you'd “known I had it in my power to whip you raw, would you, now? Nobody would have thought of throwing Fanged Frisbees down the corridors if I could've strung you up by the ankles in my office, would they? But when Educational Decree Number Twenty-nine comes in, Potter I'll be allowed to do them things…'

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28, Snape's Worst Memory

This also indicates that corporal punishments were not allowed. Special decree had to be passed.

There was "Approval for Whipping" form, the origin of this form is not very clear.

"Approval for Whipping… Approval for Whipping… I can do it at last… they've had it coming to them for years…"

He pulled out a piece of parchment, kissed it, then shuffled rapidly back out of the door, clutching it to his chest.

Filch elbowed his way closer to Umbridge, almost crying with happiness.

"I've got the form, Headmistress," he said hoarsely, waving the piece of parchment Harry had just seen him take from her desk. "I've got the form and I've got the whips waiting… oh, let me do it now…"

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29, Career Advice

Another instance of rule change:

"Nah, they make her look tame. The other teachers are all supposed to refer us to the Carrows if we do anything wrong. They don’t, though, if they can avoid it. You can tell they all hate them as much as we do."

"Amycus, the bloke, he teaches what used to be Defense Against the Dark Arts, except now it’s just the Dark Arts. We’re supposed to practice the Cruciatus Curse on people who’ve earned detentions –"

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 29, The Lost Diadem

It all comes down to who is running the school, because that person can modify the school rules.

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    That's a lot of twenty-nines. – ibid Mar 22 '17 at 16:41
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    @ibid All cool things happen at the end my friend – Vishvesh Mar 22 '17 at 17:01
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    I think McGonagall's dislike was not for the hitting, it was the transfiguration. ("we never use transfiguration as a punishment") – Riker Mar 22 '17 at 21:17
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    @ibid Your comment has the correct number of upvotes. – isaacg Mar 23 '17 at 23:09
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    @isaacg - People better stop upvoting then. – ibid Mar 23 '17 at 23:26
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No. As ever, the movies suck.

First and foremost, Dumbledore would never allow this. Observe his reaction in Book 5, when Umbridge touches a student.

Professor Umbridge seized Marietta, pulled her round to face her and began shaking her very hard.

A split second later Dumbledore was on his feet, his wand raised; Kingsley started forwards and Umbridge leapt back from Marietta, waving her hands in the air as though they had been burned.

"I cannot allow you to manhandle my students, Dolores," said Dumbledore and, for the first time, he looked angry.

It's worth noting this is only the second time in the series Dumbledore has drawn his wand threateningly (the other was to save Harry at the end of Book 4). It takes a lot - and I mean a lot - to get Dumbledore angry enough to arm himself, and it seems touching his students is one of them.

As a side note - this is partly why the Goblet Of Fire scene is so hated. It's a direct contradiction of the character we see in the books, who would never, ever act so threateningly towards a student.

http://www.tor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/HP-goblet.gif

Or you can note that Dumbledore stopped Filch from harming students physically.

A highly polished collection of chains and manacles hung on the wall behind Filch's desk. It was common knowledge that he was always begging Dumbledore to let him suspend students by their ankles from the ceiling.

You can also note the reaction to Moody's ferret punishment in book 4, though I still think Dumbledore's character is the stronger proof.

"Teach ...­ Moody, is that a student?" shrieked Professor McGonagall, the books spilling out of her arms.

"Yep," said Moody.

"No!" cried Professor McGonagall, running down the stairs and pulling out her wand; a moment later, with a loud snapping noise, Draco Malfoy had reappeared, lying in a heap on the floor with his sleek blond hair all over his now brilliantly pink face. He got to his feet, wincing.

"Moody, we never use Transfiguration as a punishment!" said Professor McGonagall weakly. "Surely Professor Dumbledore told you that?"

"He might've mentioned it, yeah," said Moody, scratching his chin unconcernedly, "but I thought a good sharp shock ...­"

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    haha just joined that community to like your post only because of that gif. Man, that's really calm... :D – Matthias Burger Mar 23 '17 at 15:33
  • DID YOU PUT YOUR NAME IN THE GOBLET OF FIRE – Mikasa Oct 8 '17 at 12:58
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Teachers were allowed to physically punish students on a few occasions.

Briefly in year 5 corporal punishment was allowed under Umbridge

Filch elbowed his way closer to Umbridge, almost crying with happiness.

‘I’ve got the form, Headmistress,’ he said hoarsely, waving the piece of parchment Harry had just seen him take from her desk.

‘I’ve got the form and I’ve got the whips waiting ... oh, let me do it now ...’

‘Very good, Argus,’ she said. ‘You two,’ she went on, gazing down at Fred and George, ‘are about to learn what happens to wrong- doers in my school.’

and later

Filch prowled the corridors with a horsewhip ready in his hands, desperate to catch miscreants, but the problem was that there were now so many of them he never knew which way to turn.

Year 7 it was also allowed, under Death Eaters

‘Do you know about the Carrows?’

‘Those two Death Eaters who teach here?’ ‘They do more than teach,’ said Neville. ‘They’re in charge of all discipline. They like punishment, the Carrows.’

‘Like Umbridge?’

‘Nah, they make her look tame. The other teachers are all supposed to refer us to the Carrows if we do anything wrong. They don’t, though, if they can avoid it. You can tell they all hate them as much as we do.

‘Amycus, the bloke, he teaches what used to be Defence Against the Dark Arts, except now it’s just the Dark Arts. We’re supposed to practise the Cruciatus Curse on people who’ve earned detentions –’

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    This answer is correct, though it might be worth pointing out that this was the school under control of criminals in both year 5 and 7, and was not normal operating procedure. – DavidS Mar 22 '17 at 15:29
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    @DavidS Criminals? They where appointed by the government. Treason doth never prosper. – Yakk Mar 22 '17 at 15:35
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    @Yakk Umbridge sent Dementors to attack a fifteen year old in public (definitely illegal, she just hadn;t been caught yet), and Voldemort was...well, Voldemort. His crimes were still not legal, even under his government. – DavidS Mar 22 '17 at 15:45
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    @Yakk - For if it prosper, none dare call it treason. – Adamant Mar 23 '17 at 2:24

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