ASHEBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A mother is warning other parents with students in Randolph County Schools to check their paperwork, after getting a form to opt-out of corporal punishment.
Corporal punishment is defined as the intentional infliction of physical pain upon the body of a student as a disciplinary measure. It’s still legal in 19 states, including North Carolina. Our state law says school districts can choose whether or not to allow corporal punishment.
The parents that FOX8 crews spoke to aren’t so concerned about the punishment itself. They’re more concerned about the fact that they have to opt-out of it.
“If you just see an opt out form you might be like oh well it’s not a big deal and overlook it and there could be pretty significant consequences that come from that,” said Audra, who didn’t want to share her last name, but has two children at Trinity Elementary.
The form came as a surprise to Audra. The mom went home with a stack of papers after the open house Thursday.
“I was flipping through it in the car with my daughter when we got out of the open house and it actually opened up right to that page and I was kind of just blown away that it was still there,” she said. “That corporal punishment is still being used.”
The form she received reads, “failure to return this form may result in administration of corporal punishment pursuant to Board Policy 4355.” That policy in the Randolph County Schools’ manual details the conditions surrounding the use of corporal punishment.
It was adopted in 1989 and last updated in November 2012.
Parents must be informed before the administration of corporal punishment. It must be administered by a teacher, assistant principal or principal. It can’t be done in front of other children.
It must be administered by hand or paddle, and administrators aren’t allowed to slap a child in the face or head.
Parents must be given the form at the beginning of every school year.
Rebekah Todd remembers signing it for her daughter Violet.
“We’re three decades into the new millennium and we still have to sign a form about corporal punishment,” she said. “That’s kind of crazy.”
FOX8 reached out to school districts across the Piedmont Triad to see what their policies are surrounding corporal punishment. Randolph County is the only local school district permitting corporal punishment.
State law requires districts to report the number of times corporal punishment is used to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. During the 2020-2021 school year, no school districts in North Carolina reported using corporal punishment. It was the third consecutive year where zero uses were reported.
Audra said every parent should have a choice, but that the state law should require parents to opt-in rather than opt-out.
“If you’re for it, that’s fine,” she said. “I think you should sign a consent form or a permission slip or something or the sort rather than having to opt out.”
FOX8 reached out to Randolph County Schools to learn more information about corporal punishment in the district. The only response we got was that the county has used these forms and given them out to parents for many years.