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COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It may seem like something from the old days, but children are still being paddled in North Carolina schools. Columbus County Schools recently abandoned the punishment after finding out the district was using it more than all but one other school district in the state.

North Carolina is one of about 20 states that still allows paddling in schools, but the number of schools using the punishment is dwindling. Columbus County Schools joined the trend after a report showed 193 of its students received some sort of corporal punishment last school year.

“We felt the numbers were high,” said Dr. Heather Wing, Columbus County’s Director of Pupil Personnel Services. “We visited the options and had further discussion and then put into place effective February 7 during that board meeting to discontinue our corporal punishment option.”

Paddling was not allowed on every student. Parents could opt out.

Parent Karen Crosby says she liked the idea of corporal punishment at Acme-Delco Elementary and fully supported the teachers when her son was paddled.

“They need the paddling,” Crosby said. “I believe it helps their behavior better, not to scare them. They know the consequences of their actions.”

But what about the time-honored phrase “Spare the rod, spoil the child?”

Charles Shaw, says we need to get back to discipline of the olden days.

“There used to be a time when they get a hold of them at school, and then they would go home and get another whooping, and I think it needs to be that way now, because that’s why there’s so much crime, ’cause of children knowing they’re not getting a whooping,” Shaw said.

The times have changed. School leaders say they are focusing more on offering students positive reinforcement.

“We are moving forward with our positive behavior intervention program here in Columbus County,” Superintendent Alan Faulk said. “I do feel like this puts us more in line with the state and the rest of the country.”

Several parents with spoke with said they support their child being paddled at school, while others said they’d rather take care of the discipline at home.

Columbus County’s western neighbor Robeson ounty spanked the most students last year accounting for 359 of the nearly 900 students paddled across the state.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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