Commentary, News

New report: NC is finally almost rid of corporal punishment in the schools

Tom Vitaglione, Senior Fellow for Health and Safety at NC Child is out with a new report on corporal punishment in North Carolina’s public schools. The good news: the decades-long campaign to rid our schools of this barbaric practice is almost to the “mission accomplished” point. The bad news: three counties (Graham, Macon and Robeson) are still administering taxpayer-funded beatings to children. This is from Vitaglione’s conclusion:

“Though the practice is now rare, North Carolina remains on the list of state that allow corporal punishment, a bit of a tarnish on our image that is frequently highlighted in news stories across the nation. The NC General Assembly remains reluctant to prohibit the practice statewide (though it does allow a parental opt-out as well as reporting). The current [McCrory] Administration, so focused on image, has not even expressed an opinion on the issue.

Given the lack of state leadership, advocacy will remain focused on the three districts that still use corporal punishment….Hopefully, it won’t be long before all of North Carolina’s public school students can go to school without fear of being hit by school personnel.”

Click here to read: “Corporal Punishment in North Carolina’s Public Schools: Almost Gone and Good Riddance.”

 

Commentary

Today’s shocking child abuse statistic

WRAL.com has a featured story this morning about the state sponsored form of child abuse known as “corporal punishment.” You know — that’s the thing the state law prohibits prisoners and animals from being subjected to, but approves for children as an a tool of “education.” The issue is in the news again these days because of the arrest of a famous football player for beating his child with a tree branch (to the point at which cuts and bruises were inflicted). The beating was apparently inflicted  because the child pushed another child away from a video game.

One encouraging aspect of the story if that so-called corporal punishment is slowly but surely dying out. As with the death penalty, opposition to same sex marriage and efforts to block Medicaid expansion in the states, the truth is wearing down the defenders of this long-discredited practice. As NC Child’s Tom Vitaglione told WRAL:

“There’s been no evidence this makes a difference in terms of behavior or academic improvement  In North Carolina, the end-of-year grades and graduation rates have been going up for the last decade. At the same time, use of corporal punishment dropped dramatically.”
As the story also notes, however, child beating remains an officially sanctioned part of our public education system in several North Carolina counties — most notably, one of the state’s poorest counties, Robeson. Now here’s perhaps the most shocking part of the story: In the  2102-2013 school year, 203 North Carolina children were subjected to state-sanctioned beatings. Of that number, 128 — fully 63% — were Native American children! According to the Census Bureau,  Native Americans make up 1.6% of North Carolina’s population.
Of course, these amazing numbers are chiefly due to the situation in Robeson — where Native Americans make up a sizable chunk of the population. Robeson County school leaders are conducting most of the beatings — nearly 70%. It’s perhaps worth noting at this point that Robeson is also the county that so readily sentenced Henry McCollum to death.There are many other disturbing numbers in the story — the fact that 21 Kindergartners were subjected to beatings and that six children were beaten for “cell phone use” stand out — but if for no other reason than the obvious racism of a system that subjects 1.6% of the children to 63% of the punishments inflicted, North Carolina leaders must step up to the plate and end this absurd violence ASAP.

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Good news for Good Friday: More progress toward the abolition of state-sponsored violence

On the day of remembrance of the most infamous state-sponsored execution in human history, there are more and more encouraging indications that our country is making progress in the age-old effort to bring about the demise of government-overseen violence.

Yesterday, the Connecticut state senate voted to abolish the death penalty in the Constitution State. The House and Governor are expected to follow suit in the near future and thereby make it the fifth state in as many years to take such a step.

Meanwhile, here in North Carolina, Read more