By Tom Vitaglione
The News & Observer
The March 21 Point of View “Ending school pushout” presented five areas of concern regarding discipline in public schools. Four areas are complex and will require serious consideration.
The fifth, euphemistically called “corporal punishment,” is an antiquated, ineffective form of student discipline that lawmakers should ban.
I say euphemism because the statutory definition of corporal punishment is “the intentional infliction of pain upon the body of a student” with no restrictions except that the student should “not require medical attention beyond first aid.” Thus, we are talking of discipline closer to beatings than to love-taps.
I say antiquated and ineffective because research shows that corporal punishment improves neither academic performance nor long-term behavior. Instead, it negatively affects students’ social, psychological and educational development, and promotes violent attitudes.
For this reason, just three of 115 local school districts use the practice: Macon, Graham and Robeson still hit students, including those with disabilities.
These three districts keep North Carolina on the list of 19 states that allow students to be hit. The General Assembly should pass legislation prohibiting corporal punishment in public schools statewide, which is recommended by the State Board of Education, the N.C. Association of Educators and virtually all advocacy organizations involved with children.
Senior fellow, NC Child