There is so much wrong with this story out of Texas, including parents granting permission for their teenage daughters to be paddled in high school, that I am not sure where to begin.
So, I will let you read this Fort Worth Star-Telegram article and judge for yourselves.
As I say whenever these stories appear — and they appear with disquieting frequency — corporal punishment ought to be banned from every school. Today.
SPRINGTOWN, Texas — School board members voted Monday night to change school district policy to allow opposite gender employees to administer corporal punishment to students, but only with written permission from parents.
Also during the meeting, which included emotional addresses from some parents, the board made it policy that a same-gender school official must be on hand to witness, and parents can only request one paddling per semester.
The vote came after two female students were spanked recently by a male assistant principal at Springtown High School. The paddlings violated a school district policy adopted a year ago that required corporal punishment to be administered by school officials who are the same gender as the students being disciplined.
Superintendent Michael Kelley asked the board to consider changing the policy because not all of the schools have enough females to perform the task. He acknowledged, however, the two recent paddlings were contrary to the policy in place at that time, and for that, he apologized to the girls and their families.
Cathi Watt said she approved the paddling of her daughter, but said that bruises were raised by excessive force. Anna Jorgensen also complained that her daughter was bruised. “I gave consent for my daughter to get a swat, but I didn’t give consent for him to bruise my daughter,” Watt said. “I don’t think a female will raise a bruise because she doesn’t have the strength of a male. “I think this sends a message to boys that it’s OK to hit a girl and it’s OK to bruise a girl. That’s not right.”
Statewide, most major districts don’t allow corporal punishment, but some still use the old-school approach to discipline. Jimmy Dunne, president of the Houston-based People Opposed to Paddling Students, estimates that 75 percent of the school districts in Texas still allow corporal punishment. In an email sent to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dunne describes paddling in schools as “legalized child abuse and must be abolished in Texas schools just as it has been in 31 states.”
“Hitting schoolchildren with boards would be a felony assault charge if done anywhere except at the school,” Dunne said. “Hitting schoolchildren is no more acceptable than hitting your wife or your mother.”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog