THUMBS UP to the state Board of Education for adopting a statement opposing corporal punishment in public schools. The board said it opposes using physical pain to enforce discipline, and corporal punishment does more harm than good. We know “spare the rod and spoil the child” once was widely accepted, but we agree with the state school board. Most local school boards think so, too. According to The Associated Press, corporal punishment is allowed in about a dozen of North Carolina’s 115 school districts. Even with that low number, the state board reported approximately 400 uses of corporal punishment last school year. That’s less than half the number reported the previous year. We think 400 paddlings or other forms of physical punishment for 12 school districts is a troublesome statistic. We side with the state school board’s observation that discipline can be kept without corporal punishment. The board did not ask the General Assembly to outlaw corporal punishment, preferring to leave the issue in local hands. We hope the school districts that still apply the rod will take to heart the state board’s declaration.
THUMBS UP to Douglas County, Colo., for easing tension in schools there by having law officers fill out reports and do other paperwork in school parking lots. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut, teachers and students were anxious, even afraid. Sandy Hook dredged up memories of Columbine. Local officials arrived at a favorable solution. Instead of going back to the police station or sheriff’s office to finish records-keeping that is logged via computer, officers park on school grounds. Their presence is a comfort to students and parents. We endorse having law officers at schools. We have school liaison officers here, and they perform many invaluable services. They’re not just hall and playground monitors. Douglas County – it’s near Denver – serves 64,000 students. They are not traumatized by the sight of armed officers. By all accounts, the routine stops had an immediate calming impact. That’s what happens when the kids are kept in the know and they feel like they’re concerns are being addressed.