MONROE, N.C. -- Union County's school board has voted to ban paddling as a form of student punishment.
In a 6-3 vote, the board changed the current policy allowing corporal punishment, which hasn't been used since being challenged by a parent group two years ago.
The board in 2005 rejected a ban, but the district's superintendent at the time, Jerry Thomas, entered an agreement with school principals not to use paddling. Current Superintendent Ed Davis has continued that agreement.
The issue resurfaced last week when board Chairman Dean Arp decided to bring the policy before the school board, which has three new members. Arp voted against the ban and had said the punishment should be allowed if parents approve it for their individual children.
Corporal punishment was used 474 times during 2003-04 in Union, a system of about 28,000 children, but 85 percent of the paddlings took place at only three schools.
An analysis by The Charlotte Observer found black students received corporal punishment in Union out of proportion to their numbers in the student population. And a U.S. Department of Education study showed that many children with disabilities received the punishment in Union schools during the 1999-2000 school year.
North Carolina law allows paddling in schools as long as the punishment is not administered with other children present. The law also states that children must be told what behavior could result in paddling.
School officials also must notify parents when corporal punishment is used on their children.
Twenty-eight states have banned the punishment.
HAVE YOU BEEN|
TO THE NEWSROOM?