Superintendent Jerry Thomas is right about ending corporal punishment in Union County schools. Too bad he wasn't able to convince enough school board members. Tuesday's 5-4 vote to abolish was one short of the two-thirds "supermajority" needed to junk the antiquated and largely ineffective discipline tool.
Parents and others who want this practice banned should keep the pressure on. There are more suitable and effective ways to discipline students. Superintendent Thomas said as much in proposing the ban.
Union County residents should be particularly troubled by the inconsistent way corporal punishment is applied. Union uses it more than any other system in the state. Three schools accounted for nearly 85 percent of the paddlings last year. The punishment is most often applied to blacks. And a federal report says Union used it on children with disabilities more than any other N.C. school district in 1999-2000.
Most states already ban corporal punishment. It remains in use primarily in Southern states. North Carolina should not be one of them. This punishment has no place in public schools.
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