No Hitting! Just like we tell our kids…

Join the Autism Society of NC and others in a coalition to ban the use of corporal punishment (CP) on students with disabilities!  Past attempts to ban CP for all students have not been successful on a statewide basis, but we hope to at least protect students with disabilities by this ban. 

At last week’s meeting of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee, corporal punishment was on the agenda, with presentations from Action for Children NC and the NC Association of Educators. Other advocacy organizations working to ban corporal punishment for students with disabilities include the Autism Society of NC, the Arc of NC, Disability Rights NC, and the ACLU.  A recent survey of school systems by Action for Children NC found:

*26 of state’s 115 school districts allow corporal punishment, 7 of them in Western North Carolina (but none in the Triangle area)

*2 districts that allow CP did not respond to the survey

*3 districts—Nash-Rocky Mount (296 times), Burke (325 times), and Robeson (167 times)—were responsible for more than half of the reported instances

*113 school districts reported a total of 1,400 acts of CP in 2009 to Action for Children         

*21 states allow CP, the majority of them in the South

According to a 2006 survey by the U.S. Department of Education, students with disabilities in North Carolina were hit 290 times; a report by Human Rights Watch and the ACLU indicated that students with disabilities were hit almost twice as often as students in the general population.

There are many other methods of changing behaviors that are far more effective than hitting a child with a long wooden board (the typical method used in CP): Positive Behavior Supports, for example.  Let’s not expect students with disabilities to learn anything positive from this punishment—SUPPORT THE BAN ON CORPORAL PUNISHMENT FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES!  You can help now by contacting your Board of Education and letting them know how you feel.

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6 Responses

  1. Please email me the contact info. for the board of edu. in those counties using corporal punishment on students with dissabilities…not surprised @ all these places are still doing it too! That’s precisely why we live in the Triangle area & consider ourselves lucky for it too!!
    I will DEF. advocate against anything that hurts people (especially our kids!!!) mentally & phys.

    • Blanca: according to a 2009 report by Action for Children NC, these are the counties that still administer corporal punishment (and how many times they did in 2009):
      Alexander (3) , Allegheny (n/a) , Bertie (18), Bladen (56), Burke (325), Caldwell (41), Caswell (1), Clay (3), Columbus (87), Davidson (20), Duplin (7), Gaston (62), Graham (61), Haywood (8), Macon (70), McDowell (93), Nash (296), Onslow (2), Randolph (1), Robeson (167), Rockingham (2), Surry (7), Swain (19), Transylvania (n/a), Wayne (11), and Yadkin (52).
      You can locate contact information for each Board of Education on the school district’s website. Good luck, and thanks for helping protect our kids!

  2. When I was in school, a hundred years ago, I was usually given a choice when I got into trouble, get after school detention, which would mean parents would become involved, or accept a hit with a paddle. To me it was an easy way out of trouble even though the hits were painful (one time my butt broke a small canoe paddle) they were quick and of course the parents never found out. Perfect problem solver for both sides.

    I wonder how these reports are made. Do they actually have to fill out paperwork every time a child is hit? And are the hits for every smack on the butt, or is a series of smacks considered one hit?

    Are parents signing waivers? Are they being told when their child is hit? How are these hits happening? Who witnesses them, are the reports open to the public? (Names omitted of course)

    Im not sure I want corporal punishment in any school, for any reason, for any child. I certainly would lose my mind if it happened to my child.

    I’m on board!

    • Good questions, bensmyson. To my knowledge, parents do not sign waivers. They are supposed to be notified if their child is hit, they are witnessed by a member of administration, but only the parents are informed (no public access to the information). I do wonder if this is strictly followed in classrooms with children who do not speak…how would a parent find out? That’s exactly the sort of situation that has led to charges of child abuse, and parents only found out due to bruises on their child. Scary. I agree that no child should be hit at school (ironic that this still happens in a time of zero tolerance for the students!)

  3. People used to think it was necessary to “spank” adult members of the community, military trainees, and prisoners. In some countries they still do. In our country, it is considered sexual battery if a person over the age of 18 is “spanked”, but only if over the age of 18.

    For one thing, because the buttocks are so close to the genitals and so multiply linked to sexual nerve centers, striking them can trigger powerful and involuntary sexual stimulus in some people. There are numerous physiological ways in which it can be sexually abusive, but I won’t list them all here. One can use the resources I’ve posted if they want to learn more.

    Child buttock-battering vs. DISCIPLINE:

    Child buttock-battering (euphemistically labeled “spanking”,”swatting”,”switching”,”smacking”, “paddling”,or other cute-sounding names) for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

    Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

    I think the reason why television shows like “Supernanny” and “Dr. Phil” are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

    There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

    Plain Talk About Spanking
    by Jordan Riak,

    The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
    by Tom Johnson,

    NO VITAL ORGANS THERE, So They Say
    by Lesli Taylor M.D. and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

    Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children. There is an abundance of educational resources, testimony, documentation, etc available on the subject that can easily be found by doing a little research with the recommended reads-visit the website of Parents and Teachers Against Violence In Education at http://www.nospank.net.

    Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea:

    American Academy of Pediatrics,
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
    American Psychological Association,
    Center For Effective Discipline,
    Churches’ Network For Non-Violence,
    Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
    Parenting In Jesus’ Footsteps,
    Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
    United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    In 26 countries, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    • PDeverit: I’m hopeful that we can eliminate corporal punishment at least for students with disabilities, although I agree it shouldn’t be allowed for any child. There is very clear evidence that hitting is not an effective means of discipline—positive reinforcement is always more effective. Thanks for the resources.

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