Parents ask for school paddling to stop, March 30, 2006

NORTH CAROLINA -- It's a little known fact, but corporal punishment inNorth Carolina public schools is still alive and well. Thousands of students a year are paddled for misbehaving and a growing number of parents and teachers say the practice needs to stop.

He's a 12-year-old boy who was paddled for misbehaving at Rowland Middle School in Robeson County. The child was literally black and blue after his teacher was finished, and because of cases like his, a growing number of parents are asking for paddling in schools to stop.

Peggy Dean said, "A parent who takes an open hand and swats their child's backside -- that's a spanking. When an adult in the schools picks up a wooden plank and hits a child, that is such a different action.

Describing paddling as antiquated, demeaning and ineffective, Peggy Dean recently accompanied the student to speak before North Carolina legislatures, asking for a statewide ban on paddling in public schools. About 70 percent of the state school districts still allow it, including Columbus, Onslow and Robeson County. Brunswick and New Hanover Counties do not.

New Hanover County School Board member Steve Bilzi said, "I think it's stone age. It absolutely has no place whatsoever in a modern society -- that we think we can use violence to teach nonviolence."

Legislation introduced last year didn't pass. There's still a lot of resistance from people who say paddling went on when they were coming up, and they turned out just fine.

Mrs. Dean said, "When you're picking up a paddle, and hitting children, you're sending a message that 'I can overpower you; I can solve this problem with violence.' And I believe there are so many other tools out there to effective discipline."

Mrs. Dean says just because it's always been done doesn't mean it's a good idea. A new push this year to get state lawmakers to ban paddling will likely prompt heated debate on both sides

A group called Parents and Teachers Against Violence is spearheading the effort to change the laws about paddling. They have a website -- -- that has information about their cause and some very graphic pictures of students who've been paddled.

You can view the images at

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