There is some great news from Robeson County today. By a 6-5 vote last night, the Robeson school board officially ended the practice of state -sponsored child beating (what some still refer to by the more polite term, “corporal punishment”). This is from an article by reporter Scott Bigelow in The Robesonian:
“Corporal punishment was banished Tuesday evening from the Public Schools of Robeson County by a 6-5 vote of the Board of Education, with the board chairman casting the tie-breaking vote.
Robeson County was one of two school districts in North Carolina that continued the practice of paddling students as part of its disciplinary policy. It was allowed in the system only with the consent of a child’s parent or guardian. A report to the school board showed that 28 students were paddled in the 2017-18 school year, all American Indian and all in two elementary schools, Union and Prospect.”
The decision leaves only a single county in North Carolina — tiny Graham in the state’s far west — that clings to the obsolete (some would say barbaric) practice. Indeed, it appears that only a single school — Robbinsville High School in Graham County still hits its children.
Great credit for Robeson’s decision and the steady (and now, almost complete) demise of corporal punishment in North Carolina over the last few decades is owed to veteran children’s advocate Tom Vitaglione of the advocacy group NC Child. Vitaglione has worked tirelessly for many years to end the practice. This is from a column Vitaglione wrote for Policy Watch in 2016:
“It is time for North Carolina to take this final step and ban corporal punishment in schools entirely. We are almost there. It is time to protect all of our children from being hit in schools.”