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Evidence shows hitting children does not change behavior long-term or improve educational outcomes

Raleigh, NC – A bill to allow parents to opt their children out of receiving corporal punishment in public schools has passed the General Assembly. Most school districts in the state have either already banned the practice or no longer use it.The bill requires that every parent in the school districts that still allow corporal punishment receive a form at the beginning of the school year that informs them of the practice and allows them to opt their children out. A requirement for school districts to report their use of corporal punishment has already passed the General Assembly. During the 2009-2010 school year, only 17 school districts reported still using corporal punishment. In North Carolina, students must have parental consent to attend school field trips, take medication in school, and participate in athletics, band or other school activities.

“Thirty-one states have already banned corporal punishment, as well as all developed countries except the U.S.,” said Tom Vitaglione, Senior Fellow at Action for Children North Carolina, the statewide child advocacy organization that led the campaign. “Of the 19 states that still allow corporal punishment in state law, North Carolina has just become the second — after Texas — to allow parental opt-out. National advocates hope these changes will lead to a wave of such laws across the nation.”

Action for Children and allies successfully advocated for parents to be allowed to opt out theirdisabled children last legislative session (in 2010). The new law extends that right to parents of all children in the affected districts.

A growing body of research has confirmed that hitting students is not an effective form of discipline:
long-term behavior is not modified, and there is no correlation with improved educational performance. Rather, the research indicates that hitting students negatively affects their social, psychological, and educational development, while promoting pro-violent attitudes in youth and potentially contributing to the cycle of child abuse.
Click here for a 2011 research brief on this issue.

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