Education

Bill to ban corporal punishment gets a nod in the House. See why one lawmaker thinks that’s a bad idea.

Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus

Larry Pittman’s old school views about disciplining children placed him on the losing end of a House vote Wednesday to ban corporal punishment in North Carolina’s public school.

House Bill 295, which would prohibit corporal punishment in all 115 school districts and charter schools, was approved Wednesday on a 94 to 16 vote. It will now go to the Senate.

Pittman, a Republican from Cabarrus County, voted against the bill. He said he is grateful for every “whipping my daddy gave me.”

Here’s his explanation of why he thinks spanking and paddling are effective child-rearing tools:

“You can lock a kid up in his room, you can shut them in there and let them play with their toys instead of spanking them,” Pittman explained. “You can take away all kinds of privileges. There’s all kinds of things you can do, but ultimately if a child won’t listen, that little pressure point on his rear-end that God gave you will open his ears. It certainly worked with me.”

Rep. Zack Hawkins, (D-Durham), asked Pittman to explain why he thinks teachers should take on the role of spanking children.

Pittman said teachers need the authority to spank so they can maintain control of classrooms.

“Parents can’t often be there and the teacher has to be able to keep discipline in that classroom,” Pittman. “My teachers were very good at doing that when I was growing up.  They couldn’t wait for the parent to come do something about it. They took care of it and things were settled and we behaved ourselves because we know that was coming if we didn’t.”

And contrary to what the experts say, Pittman said spanking does not make create violent children.

“My daddy spanking me when I was a kid did not teach me to be violent against other people,” Pittman said. “I just don’t believe that psychobabble.”

None of the state’s 115 school districts currently use the practice.

Rep. Susan Fisher, (D-Buncombe), said last week the bill would “clean up our statues to affirm that fact.”

There were 60 uses of corporal punishment statewide in 2017-18 in the two districts where the practice was used. That’s a 20 percent decrease from the 75 uses reported in 2016-17.

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