As the North Carolina legislature scurries to meet its "cross-over" deadline today, a slew of new legislation is being passed in haste -- with often confusing results.
Case in point: Votes in the N.C. House yesterday concerning school kids. On one hand, the lower chamber approved an "anti-bullying" measure, even defeating a late bid by conservatives to remove gay students from the list of those who shouldn't be harassed.
On the other hand, the House also shot down a bill that would have banned schools from paddling students and using other forms of corporal punishment. The Raleigh News & Observer reports:
Children and schools were the subject of several bills in the House, including one against bullying and student harassment that the House tentatively approved Wednesday and planned a final vote Thursday. The chamber rejected by one vote an amendment that would have removed an entire list of characteristics of potential victims, including sexual orientation.
The list is needed "because we know those people are far more likely to be the victims of bullying," said Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, before it was approved by a vote of 72-45.
But the House voted 50-66 against a measure that would have eliminated the right of school districts to adopt policies permitting physical punishment of a student.
"If you're not a strong disciplinarian you're doing something very bad for children," said Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, a bill opponent.
That's an interesting message about protecting school kids from harm: Kids, don't taunt your fellow students. But teachers, whip the kids if you must.
(Note: Every industrialized country in the world prohibits corporal punishment except the U.S., Canada and one state in Australia.)