Banning corporal punishment for students with disabilities, NC Education Policy Blog
Banning Corporal Punishment for Students with Disabilities, Tom Vitaglione, Senior Fellow Action for Children North Carolina and Sherri Strickland, Preschool Disabilities Coordinator, Pitt County System; Parent of a Student with Special Needs; and current President of the North Carolina Association of Educators presented to members. Mr. Vitaglione provided results from the 2006 Office of Civil Rights survey indicated 69 districts in North Carolina have banned the practice of corporal punishment, 20 districts still allow the practice, but did not use it, and 26 districts still allow the practice. The survey results show there were 1,400 incidents reported. There is no record of how many of these incidents involved students with disabilities so there is no way to determine if this is a localized occurrence or if it is widespread. Mrs. Strickland gave a brief summary of her teaching career with exceptional children and some of her personal experiences in managing exceptional child behavior. She was very supportive of the Positive Behavior Support initiative indicating there was documented success that this was the best way to handle inappropriate behavior. She urged the Committee to recommend legislation this session that would ban corporal punishment for students with disabilities, recommend that local school boards implement Positive Behavioral Support in all schools as soon as possible, and require that incidents of corporal punishment be reported to the State Board at least annually, with delineations by student age, gender, race/ethnicity, and special education status. Representative Glazier spoke briefly from his own personal experiences and indicated he would support such legislation. Several members of the Committee also spoke in support of such legislation. There was concern that better data and reporting would be required and Representative Wiley reminded the Committee to proceed with caution since a child with a reading disability could potentially dodge punishment even though the student’s exceptionality has no connection to their behavior. Attempts have been made over the past twenty years to ban corporal punishment statewide but they have failed. NCSBA has opposed the ban, but it appears they may be willing to allow this modification to the ban (for special education students only).