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Final victory achieved in effort to end public school corporal punishment

In case you missed it, corporal punishment in the public schools has finally come to an end in North Carolina. This is from a recent story by WUNC radio reporter Will Michaels:

The last school district that practiced corporal punishment in North Carolina has voted to ban it.

Board members voted unanimously to end paddling on October 2, the day of their most recent meeting, according to Graham County Schools Superintendent Angie Knight. The move effectively bans the practice across the state.

“Corporal punishment will no longer be a disciplinary action in Graham County Schools,” Knight said in an email.

Graham County Schools was the only district left that still allowed paddling, after the board in Robeson County voted to end it in April. Graham County used corporal punishment 34 times in the 2016-2017 school year.

State law allows paddling in public schools, defining it as “the intentional infliction of physical pain upon the body of a student as a disciplinary measure,” but leaves the decision about whether or not to use it to local school boards.

Tom Vitaglione of NC Child.

As with so many practices that once seemed normal, but that, thankfully, society finally woke up to, corporal punishment had many fierce defenders not that long ago. Just a few years’ back, when the issue was debated in the General Assembly, one state lawmaker proudly and approvingly spoke of being “beaten like a rented mule” as a child in the public schools. Happily, those days are now past.

One individual who deserves great praise for this accomplishment is veteran children’s advocate Tom Vitaglione of the group NC Child. Vitaglione worked tirelessly over the years for this day and he should be enormously proud of this accomplishment. Let’s hope elected officials now turn their eyes completely in the direction of making our schools the kind of healthy, loving and violence-free places they should be at all times.

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