I was rather naive as a young nurse. I thought that I would save lives on a daily basis and be the personification of Florence Nightingale herself. I was surprised to find that many nursing duties did not involve heroics.
I was rather naive as a young mother. While an experienced babysitter and competent nurse, I was surprised to find how difficult mothering could be.
As I grew older, I became more skeptical and less naive. I had begun to think that nothing could surpise me after all that I had seen and heard.
Action for Children in North Carolina published a report last week about corporal punishment during the last school year. I was not only surprised, but totally appalled. Corporal punishment is still allowed in schools in 21 of these United States!!! Striking a child, prohibited in juvenile detention centers is perfectly fine in many public schools throughout the U.S. I am sorry to say that North Carolina is one of those states that does not prohibit paddling in public schools. Our legislative code leaves the decision to the local school boards. Twenty-six school districts in NC allow spanking of children from kindergarten through high school. Most of them do not exempt special needs children from the spanking policies.
Here is the NC code about corporal punishment in public school:
Principals, teachers, and others may use reasonable force in the exercise of lawful authority to restrain or correct pupils and maintain order; local boards may not prohibit use of such force but are to adopt policies governing administration of corporal punishment, including at a minimum: notice to students and teachers; teacher and no other students present.
I honestly thought our nation had progressed beyond allowing teachers to assault children and teens with wooden paddles or canes. Worse, according to "Action for Children," students with disabilities received corporal punishment almost 300 times in 2006 here in the State of North Carolina. And those were only the reported instances.
This post is not in any way intended to criticize parents who spank their children, especially a swat on the behind with the open hand. But to allow teachers to spank a child with a wooden paddle? Do you really want your teenage daughter spanked by her male teacher? Or any teacher? No, the purpose of this post is to remind us all that there are laws and regulations that we thought were long gone from our states. That we remain naive and uninformed about many aspects of our society.
Proponents of spanking in schools will begin with the oft used quote, "Spare the rod and spoil the child." School district officials will begin by telling you that many times the students or parents themselves choose spanking over other alternative punishments. What they are not likely to tell you is that most of the alternative punishments involve suspension or "in school suspension" in which the student is not allowed to attend classes for several weeks at a time.
It should come as no surprise that most public school spankings are done in the "Bible Belt" states and most of the spankings in North Carolina are in the western mountains. I leave you with photographs of real paddles actually used in public schools. I honestly believe that a parent using one of these paddles to routinely discipline children at home would be reported to Child Protective Services.