Saturday, April 20

Corporal Punishment “Opt-Out” Policy back in Spotlight

Classroom - Stock Image (smolaw11 / Adobe Stock)
Classroom – Stock Image (smolaw11 / Adobe Stock)

ASHEBORO N.C. – As students return to school parents are reading and signing a lot of forms; one of those forms is back in the spotlight after parents took to social media and spoke with a local TV news station about Randolph County Schools opt-out policy for corporal punishment. 

Under North Carolina General Statutes school personnel may use reasonable force in what the statute calls “the exercise of lawful authority to restrain or correct pupils and maintain order.” It is this provision that sets up the use of corporal punishment in schools. 

The Randolph County School System policy regarding corporal punishment was established in 1989 and last updated on November 19, 2012.

The policy which says, “while not encouraged, corporal punishment may be administered at all levels,” requires parents be given an opt-out form to sign if they do not want their child to be subject to corporal punishment and sets up guidelines for its use. Some of those guidelines include:

  • Corporal punishment must be administered on the buttocks by hand or paddle.  Slapping, striking a child about the face or head, and shaking a pupil by the shoulders, or excessive force that results in injury to the child that requires medical attention beyond simple first aid ais prohibited.
  • Parents must be notified in advance of the use of corporal punishment as corrective action.  If parents disagree with the recommended use of corporal punishment, then the administration will use an alternative form of punishment.
  • Corporal punishment must be administered either by a teacher, assistant principal, or the principal.  In any event, the principal or the principal’s designee (limited to an assistant principal, teacher, must be present as a witness.

Read the full policy

Since 2011 school systems in the state have been required to report the use of corporal punishment to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction which includes the data in its annual report to the general assembly. The 2020-21 report says that “over the last three academic years, 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21, zero districts across the state reported the use of corporal punishment in school.

It’s not until you go back to the 2017-18 academic year before you find any reported uses of the punishment where two school systems employed corporal punishment for a total of 60 uses, 15 less than the 75 reported uses in the 2016- 17 academic year.

With the policy back in the spotlight we asked readers on Facebook what they thought of corporal punishment. See what they had to say and share your thoughts on our Facebook page.