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Shot of a schoolboy covering his face with hands during a talk with a head teacherDepending on how old you are (and how often you misbehaved as a kid), you may remember being spanked in school for misbehaving. However, you may also be surprised to learn that this kind of punishment is still used in North Carolina and in many other states, especially in the South. The days of corporal punishment may be coming to a close in North Carolina, however.

A recent report showed that public schools throughout the state are slowly phasing out the practice of spanking unruly students. Last year, public schools doled out corporal punishment half as often as the year before. Of the 73 paddlings that occurred last year, almost half came from Robeson County, with the rest scattered throughout the state. In addition, more than half of the paddlings were given to Native American students, with nearly all the other cases involving white students.

Even though paddling has fallen by over 90 percent since 2010, it is still legal in North Carolina. That fact has caused a fierce debate from supporters and detractors of corporal punishment in recent years.

Corporal Punishment: It’s the Law

While many states have begun explicitly outlawing paddling and other forms of corporal punishment in public schools, North Carolina still explicitly allows it. Specifically, teachers and administrators are allowed to use “reasonable force” as a form of discipline. In fact, the laws are written in such a way that local school districts are not allowed to outright ban corporal punishment in their own schools  — though they may choose to use other means of discipline instead.

There are four different passages in North Carolina’s General Statutes that refer to corporal punishment: GS 115C-288, GS 115C-390.3, GS 115C-390.4 and 115C-391.4. These define what reasonable force is, and how corporal punishment must be administered. Specifically, they dictate who can administer the discipline, who can be disciplined and who can be present. Notifications of corporal punishment must be sent to the parents, and reports must be sent to the school board.

The Case For and Against Corporal Punishment

The argument that corporal punishment is one that has been preached likely since before written word was first invented. Parents and others who administer corporal punishment see an immediate change in the child’s behavior. They stopped breaking the rules, and learned that there are consequences to their actions. In short, corporal punishment works — and countless parents can attest to that fact.

However, psychological studies may prove otherwise. While it does stop bad behavior in the short run, it does much more harm than good in the long run. Studies have shown that children who receive corporal punishment become more aggressive than their peers. When children are hit, the study shows, they are more likely to use violence to solve their own problems. In addition, it can cause long-term psychological damage, including antisocial behavior and mental health problems. However, it is important to point out that some researchers say there is not a direct correlation between corporal punishment and these long-term issues.

Whether for better or worse, North Carolina is working to eliminate corporal punishment for schools, regardless of changes to the law. ABC11, a local news station, ran a Twitter poll about the issue, and nearly a quarter of responders say children shouldn’t be spanked in school. Though this was by no means a scientific poll, it in addition to current practice seem to indicate that the public is no longer in favor of this form of discipline.

Seeing it makes your stomach turn. You flip on the evening news and see a clip of an adult abusing a child in a daycare. Your thoughts immediately turn to your own child who spends the work day in the care of others so you can bring home a paycheck. What if that was your child? Would you know if your little one was being mistreated or abused? Here are ways that you can protect your child from daycare abuse.

1. Know the Warning Signs

The first thing to do is to know the warning signs of daycare abuse. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, these are some of the things to be on the lookout for:

  • Mood swings or changes in behavior that can’t be explained
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Inappropriate sexual interest or activity
  • Acting out or aggressive behavior
  • Infantile behavior
  • Problems in school
  • Toilet-training difficulties or changes in habits
  • Fear of certain people, places or activities
  • Fear of being taken to or left at the daycare facility

2. Checking Out Daycares

One of your biggest clues to problems at a daycare is your gut, so trust it. Before you enroll your child in a daycare, go and check it out. Take a look around, speak to the staff and, if possible, observe lessons or activities. Keep in mind that a daycare may not allow you to participate in activities for legal reasons, but there is no reason that they won’t let you visit. If you feel like something is off or not the right fit for your child, continue your search.

You can also talk to other parents and see who they are trusting with their children. This is a great way to start creating your list of care centers to visit. Parents will have strong opinions one way or another with regards to who is caring or has cared for their little ones.

3. Talk to Your Kids

If your child is already enrolled in a daycare, ask them about their day, every day. Small children are more apt to talk about their day than older kids, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get information from them. Ask your child how their day was, find out what they learned, ask what their favorite part of daycare is, what their favorite games are and anything else you want to know. If your child is too young to talk in a way that provides you much information, you can role play.

No parent should have anything but complete trust in a daycare, and no child should have to tolerate abuse or mistreatment. If you feel as though your child may be being abused, file a complaint with your local police department.

If you know that your child has been mistreated at a daycare center in Charlotte, reach out to Auger & Auger for fast assistance. We will schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation and review the details of the mistreatment so that we can better advise you of your options.

download (1)An accident involving a school bus and a passenger vehicle has left three people injured in southwest Charlotte earlier this week. Law enforcement officials say that the accident happened on Holabird Lane near West Boulevard at approximately 8:00 a.m. when the car became pinned under the rear of the school bus. Police did not indicate how the accident happened.

Firefighters had to rescue the adult driver who was later transported to an area hospital with what could be life-threatening injuries. Two children who were also in the car had minor injuries at the time of the crash. None of the six students of who were on the bus at the time of the accident were injured. The students were being transported to Myers Park Traditional Elementary School.

When parents send or take their children to school, they are always concerned that their children will be safe while they are away from home.   When accidents happen, especially when children are involved, a parent can feel panicked and even devastated if their own child is one of the ones who are hurt.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an automobile accident, having a good legal representative on your side is important. You need an attorney who will fight on your side.

At the Law Offices of Auger & Auger, our attorneys are focused on every aspect of accident and personal liability law.  We can do what needs to be done to help you after the accident.  Call us today for your free consultation.

downloadSchools are filled with many types of dangerous but necessary equipment. Scissors, sharpeners, and playground equipment come to mind immediately, but one recent and tragic story shows how dangerous mobile folding tables can be.

In New Jersey, a seven-year-old boy was killed at soccer practice when the bench of a folding table came away from the wall where it was fastened. The 108-pound object struck the boy in head and killed him instantly. It’s not known whether the boy touched the table or bench when the accident occurred. The incident is still under investigation. The model involved in this incident folds into the wall and is held in place by a key, but when asked the superintendent didn’t know if the unit was locked at the time or not.

This isn’t the first time that folding tables have killed or injured students. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned schools about the dangers of some models of folding tables. The ones involved in this incident weren’t the ones they have warned about however.

When an injury or death happens at school, parents can feel helpless. The school system is supposed to help take care of their children. School officials have many of the same rights as parents. However, all is not lost. It is possible to receive compensation for the negligence of the school. Call the offices of Auger & Auger if you believe a school should be held responsible for injuring your child.

Quinny Buzz 3 with Maxi-Cosi Mico infant car seatIn response to an online report published by The Observer, state lawmakers have given the state medical examiner’s budget a $1 million boost. Why? Because of issues brought to light that the office blames on a lack of personnel and an improper budget.

In its report, The Observer points to a 2012 case in which 4-month-old Jams Phillips died in Brunswick County. The death was ruled an accident without an autopsy or even a visit to the scene. The infant’s mother claimed that she had been sleeping with the child and possibly rolled over on him.

Fast forward 18 months and the infant’s brother, 8-month-old Luke, dies under similar circumstances. Again, the death was ruled an accident with no autopsy and no visit to the scene. Says the father, Seth, “If there had been any serious investigation after Bo died, I feel like Luke’s death wouldn’t have happened.”

Unfortunately, investigations, or a lack of, like these occur throughout the state on a regular basis.

It has been discovered that the state’s medical examiner’s office rarely visits the scene in the case of infant death and, perhaps more surprisingly, rarely looks at the body. This flagrant misuse of investigatory powers brings to question the ruling in thousands of deaths.

According to the article, the office visited the scene of infant death in just 2 percent of the cases. The numbers a decade ago are not much better – the office visited the scene of infant death just 7 percent of the time. Experts want the job done better. Infant and toddler deaths deserve unique attention because these young children are especially vulnerable to abuse.

The office defends its practices, stating that even if they do not respond to the scene, the police do. This is in no way an acceptable excuse. Police officers, say experts, are on scene to collect information and solve a crime, not to determine the ultimate cause of death.

Because of the report, a state committee has recommended sweeping reforms to the way the state medical examiner’s office conducts death investigations. Suggestions include required training for medical examiners, an increase in pay, and the hiring of professional death investigators. According to State Senator Jeff Tarte, R-Mecklenburg, “Our medical examiner system needs serious help.”

It remains to be seen if the suggestions offered will be put into effect or if they will be followed. Until that time, people who have lost a loved one due to questionable circumstances may have very little recourse.

If a loved one has died and you suspect abuse, negligence, or other foul play, contact the wrongful death attorneys at Auger & Auger for assistance. We can offer you the assistance that you seek, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. Contact us today for immediate assistance. Your first consultation is always free!

ryerson public school playgroundVery few parents want to leave their children behind while they go to work or attend class. Unfortunately, most parents are forced to do just that. Choosing a child care provider for your children is one of the most important decisions that you can make.

Opening a child care center in North Carolina involves much more than hanging a shingle and calling yourself a provider. There are strict guidelines and laws in place that are designed to protect providers, parents and children. Knowing the basics can help you choose the right center for your child.

  • Discipline—Corporal punishment is not permitted in any child care center unless it is exempt from these regulations due to religious beliefs and practices. Corporal punishment includes slapping, spanking or any form of physical punishment.
  • Ratios—Group size varies depending upon the age of children in the center. Infant groups have a maximum size of 10, while school-aged children can be grouped together in numbers totaling no more than 25. Teacher to student ratios vary from 1 to 5 to 1 to 25 dependent upon the age of the children.
  • Credentials—Administration and teaching staff must hold a North Carolina Early Childhood Administration Credential or its equivalent. Those who do not must currently be pursuing licensure within six months of hire.
  • Background Checks—All staff of the day care center must pass an initial background check and another every three years of employ.
  • Space—Indoor space must equal at least 25-square feet per child, and outdoor space must equal at least 75-square feet per child. Outdoor spaces must be fenced.
  • Equipment—All equipment must be age appropriate, well maintained, and free of hazards.

The above is just a small sampling of the laws and regulations that can be found in a report provided by the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education. Aside from these laws, it is also important to understand your rights as a parent. These are:

  • The right to enter a child care home or center at any time that your child is present.
  • The right to see the license of the center displayed prominently.
  • The right to know how your child will be disciplined should such discipline be necessary.

No one wants to think of a child being injured or abused in a center that is supposed to provide for their safety, health and wellbeing but, unfortunately, these things do happen. If you believe that your child has been hurt or injured due to neglect of the administration or any employee of a child care center, contact the law offices of Auger & Auger immediately.

We offer free consultation and will confer over every detail of your case. Our team is here to fight for your rights and those of your child. Call us today to discuss your case! We are here for you.

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