The State Board of Education wants to weigh in on the issue of school spanking with the aim of making recommendations for a new law next year.
Child advocates for years have pushed the board to oppose school spanking, but members have been reluctant to wade into a local policy issue. That appears to have changed.
"I just think it's wrong," state school board member John Tate said today. "I think it's an instance that we have to stand up for what's right for kids and say stop this nonsense."
A report earlier this year shows that three counties - Robeson, Columbus, and McDowell - did 87 percent of the spanking in 2010-2011.
Seventeen districts used corporal punishment a total of 891 times, according to the state Department of Public Instruction report. Ten of those districts have since banned school spanking, the report said. Most local school districts don't spank students.
Boys, disabled students, and minority students - particularly American Indian students - received a disproportionate amount of physical discipline at school.
Eighty percent of the students spanked were boys. Twenty-two percent of the children spanked were disabled, though disabled students make up 8 percent of the student population.
American Indian students make up nearly 43 percent of Robeson's enrollment, and that district spanked more children than any other by far.
Bills attempting to outlaw spanking have failed, but the legislature has moved cautiously to restrict the practice.