Texas parents call for school paddling

Schools in Temple, Texas ended corporal punishment, but paddling is back at parents’ request, reports the Washington Post.

Without paddling, “there were no consequences for kids,” said Steve Wright, who runs a construction business and is Temple’s school board president.

Since paddling was brought back to the city’s 14 schools by a unanimous board vote in May, behavior at Temple’s single high school has changed dramatically, Wright said, even though only one student in the school system has been paddled.

Twenty states still allow corporal punishment, but Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), plans to introduce a bill to ban it. “When you look that the federal government has outlawed physical punishment in prisons, I think the time has come that we should do it in schools,” she said.

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  1. The anti-spanking crowd is going to have a field day with this…

  2. My grade school had this, and while I think it’s gross, not every kid who got paddled ended up in prison. Maybe prisons should rethink their stand.

  3. Contrary to the opinion of Congressman McCarthy, I’m sure that many teachers would often like to implement the death penalty. I suspect that’s the real reason we don’t allow concealed carry on school campuses.

  4. When I went to school, every teacher used her ruler as needed. Of course, most kids of all SES levels came from stable families who instilled suitable behavior standards before the kids started school (first grade). Simple disrespect was very rare; rulers dealt with minor misbehavior and the principal or coach (we only had one) addressed the rare serious issues. Juvenile delinquents, sociopaths, constant serious troublemakers and psychotics were not in regular schools.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    The groups you refer to in your last sentence are now protected categories.
    I once kidded a bunch of teachers that what we needed was shock collars on kids–like those which teach dogs not to bark–triggered by a laser designator controlled by the teacher.
    I thought they’d be horrified.
    They each got a far-away look and said….wowww. Hmm. Yeah.
    They aren’t sadists.
    Fed to the eyeteeth, though.
    My wife was called to jury duty and sat on a murder.
    I asked the jury caller person if she could get a break until summer on account of she was a teacher. No, said the person, then we’d have juries of all teachers.
    I think they were afraid teachers were mushy and would be overlikely to acquit.
    I don’t think so.
    FINALLY, I can smack somebody who deserves it!

  6. I realize that the categories I mentioned are now in regular schools and not only protected, but coddled, celebrated and given extra resources. However, in the most serious cases, the kids are either cognitively/psychiatrially unable and/or unwilling (juvenile delinquents and sociopaths) to become self-sufficient, or even law-abiding, productive, adults. The fact that they ARE placed in regular schools IS a problem.

    Unfortunately, the courts in their (dubious) wisdom have so decreed and some teachers, administrators and politicians have apparently bought into the fantasy that ALL can achieve proficiency. Until reality dawns on a sufficient fraction of the above, the “good kids” will continue to depart from the system.

  7. Richard Aubrey says:

    Not to be paranoid or anything, but the good students are, I hope, tougher to indoctrinate.
    Maybe running them out where they won’t contaminate the more easily (mis)led is a tactic.

  8. If this passes, i hope that there is an amendment tacked on to drop the final “s” from “The United States of America”. After all, such legislation dealing with issues that clearly belong at the local level will have finally clarified that state and local governments are irrelevant, and all power flows from the top down in our system, rather than from the bottom up as originally envisioned by the Framers.

  9. As a Texas teacher I would not send a child down to get paddled.

    If I strike the child, or anyone else, its a crime. Why should school sanctioned be any different?

  10. Mike, that is lazy logic.

    If I kill someone, it is a crime. If the state kills someone guilty of an offense under the law, it is capital punishment.

    If I restrain someone against their will, it is a crime. If the state does so as a penalty for an offense, it is incarceration.

    Hopefully you see where that one is going.

    Now we can argue whether or not the corporal punishment is appropriate, but lets at least do so with a bit more intellectual rigor.

  11. Mark Roulo says:

    If I strike the child, or anyone else, its a crime. Why should school sanctioned be any different?

    Of course, some people stake out the position that, “if I confine a person by force to a given location, its a crime. Why should schools be any different?”

    The answer often is, “because if person/organization A does something it is legal and if person/organization B does it then it is not.”

    One example of this is that a woman can abort her own fetus without it being murder, but it someone does this w/o her permission, that person can be charged with murder of the fetus. One actor is sanctioned, the other is not.

    If this is *legal*, then it isn’t a crime … by definition. You (and I) can still disapprove, but disapproving because a legally allowed action is a crime doesn’t work.

    -Mark Roulo

  12. Mark and Rhymes with Right,

    Being “legal” and being the right thing to do are 2 different things, and in my opinion paddling children by school officials is not the “right” thing to do.

    In essence, if you paddle the child you are committing what would be considered a crime in the world outside of school. What has a child (I’m a 4th grade teacher, so my children are 10 and 11 years old) done to deserve being assaulted? If the offense is THAT serious, i.e. striking another person, stealing, etc. than it should be a matter for the courts.

    Finally, I can maintain discipline in my classroom without having to resort to physical violence.

    If the parents want the children paddled that badly they should be willing to come to school and do it themselves.

  13. Cranberry says:

    I would never agree to allow school personnel to hit my children. Even if a majority of the parents in the school system voted to allow it.

    “They say their discipline problems aren’t different from those in any other school system in the country: students showing up late for class, or violating the dress code, or talking during lessons.”

    Sorry–none of those discipline problems warrant allowing administrators to beat my children.

  14. i think beating and paddling are 2 different things.

    and at private schools i’ve attended where paddling was allowed, waivers are signed by all and the parents come in to administer the paddling. or, if they opt out, the traditional detention/demerits/write an essay/i.s.s type consequences are dealt out. or, if the parent allows the school to administer the paddling, there is a given number of allowable swats with an agreed upon paddle. it’s usually something like 2 max. not until the person is tired of swinging at the child — that would be a beating.

    as a teacher, i wouldn’t be comfortable paddling someone else’s child. i also wouldn’t be willing to allow someone else paddle my children.

  15. Cranberry says:

    Some public school administrators have, in the past, suspended students for bringing a butter knife to school. They’ve suspended students for hair which didn’t meet the school’s dress code. They’ve strip searched a student for illicit ibuprofen. They’ve called in police to deal with young children in the throes of temper tantrums. Would I trust school administrators, as a group, to use wisdom in implementing school policies? The record is not good.

    Would you like to be the lone parent in a Texas school district who didn’t sign the waiver? “Voluntary” isn’t really voluntary if you’re afraid the other parents won’t let their children speak with your children. And yes, I don’t believe for a second the parents won’t figure out who hasn’t signed the “voluntary” form.

    Any number of adults recall beatings in school in the “good old days.” I suspect the difference between a beating and paddling depends very much upon whether you are likely to administer it–or to receive it.

  16. No child should ever be physically chastized by an adult in anger or another emotional state.

    Dispassionate administration of known consequences does work for some kids. It did for me, both at home and at school, BUT I agree with Cranberry about the judgment of school personnel. It may be more feasible in private schools, but it is probably less likely to be necessary there. I give the idea a firm “it depends”; meaning I’d want to know quite a bit about school personnel and their track records before I’d agree.

  17. Ms. McCarthy doesn’t understand the role of the federal gov’t nor the separation of power between the fed gov’t and the states.

  18. MathFellow says:

    As a parent, and a high school volunteer, in Texas, I have no problem with paddling. If my daughter thinks that the worst is going to happen to her is a school, she is sadly mistaken.

  19. MathFellow,

    That’s exactly how my parents were. My 4th grade teacher used to line us up when we misbehaved, and grabbed us by the nerve in our shoulder. I NEVER would have dreamed about telling my parents, the first words out of their mouths would have been, “What did you do to deserve it?”


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