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Where Corporal Punishment Is Still Used in Schools, Its Roots Run Deep

Robbinsville High School sits in a small gap in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Green slopes dotted with cattle hug in around the school before they rise into a thick cover of pine trees.

David Matheson is the principal here. And he’s the only high school principal in the state who still performs corporal punishment. At Robbinsville, corporal punishment takes the form of paddling – a few licks on the backside Matheson delivers with a long wooden paddle.

North Carolina state law describes corporal punishment, as “The intentional infliction of physical pain upon the body of a student as a disciplinary measure.”

Robbinsville High School’s policy allows students to request a paddling in place of in-school-suspension, or ISS. Last year, 22 students chose it.