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Corpun file 25860 at www.corpun.com
Citizen-Times, Ashville, North Carolina, 22 January 2015
Another WNC school district drops corporal punishment
Just two mountain school systems still paddle students
By Julie Ball
BRYSON CITY -- The Swain County school system has joined other mountain districts in dropping the use of corporal punishment, according to school officials.
Under the old policy, corporal punishment was administered "by paddling with a wood paddle that is no more than one half inch thick and with no holes in the wood."
The system decided to suspend that policy because it wasn't being used very often anyway, according to Toby Burrell, public information officer for Swain County schools.
Board members unanimously made the decision at a meeting in November. Swain County schools join the Madison and McDowell districts in doing away with paddling within the last year.
Three school districts in North Carolina, including two in WNC, continue to use corporal punishment, according to Tom Vitaglione, senior fellow at the advocacy group NC Child, which tracks the use of corporal punishment in North Carolina schools and has pushed to end its use.
During the 2013-14 school year, Macon County schools used it 24 times, and schools in Graham County used it 22 times.
Robeson, the other North Carolina school system that uses corporal punishment, used it 67 times during that same school year.
Graham County School Superintendent Angie Knight said corporal punishment is used only at the high school level and only if the student chooses that punishment.
"It's never the first option, but it is on that list of options they could choose depending on the offense," Knight said. "It is their (students') choice, and their parents consent prior to anything going on."
She said many students would rather be paddled than suspended and forced to miss class.
The number of times corporal punishment has been used in Graham County schools has dwindled every year, according to Knight. She said school officials would not have a problem if the state decided to prohibit the punishment.
In Macon County, "We have considered doing away with it in the past. At this point, it's not up for consideration," said Macon County School Superintendent Chris Baldwin. "It is used by a small number of principals in just a small number of cases in issues throughout our system."
Parents can opt out under the system policy, which essentially restates the North Carolina statute.
Some do opt out, but "I would say that it's a small number compared to the ones that do allow it," Baldwin said.
Only a teacher, principal or assistant principal can administer the punishment, and he or she must do it in the presence of another teacher, principal, assistant principal, substitute teacher or student teacher.
"Our principals are constantly reviewing our policies, along with parents, and at this point, it's just not an issue within our school system," Baldwin said.
Corpun file 25879 at www.corpun.com
Orlando Sentinel, Florida, 22 January 2015, p.B3
Report: Ban corporal punishment in Florida schools
By Leslie Postal
A team of UF researchers said Wednesday that Florida should ban corporal punishment in all its public schools. Paddling students is not allowed in any Central Florida school district but remains a discipline option in smaller, rural school systems. The UF report called the practice "reactive" and "ineffective."
"Paddling is archaic," said Joseph Gagnon, a UF College of Education associate professor, and one of the report's three authors. "We need to spread awareness that scientific evidence increasingly justifies abolishing corporal punishment in favor of more effective, positive ways to manage classroom behavior."
The report noted that many national experts have called paddling in schools an ineffective practice that has no longterm benefits and can harm students.
But interviews with administrators in districts that use it found educators support paddling because, they said, it helped improve behavior, was supported by parents and took students away from class for less time than suspensions.
The use of corporal punishment decreased by 89 percent in Florida schools between 1991 and 2011, the report noted.
But 2,757 instances of paddling were recorded in the 2012-13 school year, according to the Florida Department of Education. This type of school punishment took place in Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Franklin, Gilchrist, Glades, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Holmes, Jackson, Lafayette, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Nassau, Putnam, Santa Rosa, Suwanee, Union, Wakulla and Washington county school districts.
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