Parents claim their 5-year-old was “paddled” without permission
Some Texas parents claim their 5-year-old son was paddled by his teacher as a discipline for acting out in class — without their permission. Apparently, you can still give permission for teachers to physically hurt your children in 40% of Texas school districts. WTF, Texas?
Ayanna Smith told People her son Jalijah was disciplined for sticking his tongue out at his teacher — an allegation he denies. Meadows Elementary School in DeSoto, Texas allows corporal punishment, and parents are given forms to opt out of it when they register their children. Smith says she completed forms objecting to the use of corporal punishment when she registered her son.
“He used to like to go to school,” Smith told People. “His spirit is broken. I mean, he’s a 5-year-old; he’s not normally a bad kid and he doesn’t get into trouble. He doesn’t do things out of the ordinary. He’s a good student.” Her son is too scared to return to school so she is currently homeschooling him.
Smith wants the teacher to apologize to her child. “The school has not been cooperative,” she says. “At first, I wanted the teacher fired. But at the very least, what should happen is the teacher should apologize. Apologies matter to kids.”
Apology? How about a criminal charge? Laying your hands on someone else is called “assault.” Do children cease to have the same rights the rest of us do because they happen to be enrolled in a school district that somehow allows the archaic practice of corporal punishment to exist?
The assistant superintendent admitted the two teachers involved failed to look at Smith’s paperwork before paddling her son. “We have to do what’s in the best interest of those involved. To say that we’re going to fire a teacher, which is what she requested — we’re just not going to go that far,” she said.
“Teachers or principals may strike students three or more times on the buttocks or upper thighs with a wooden paddle, which is often 15 inches long,” describes a Business Insider story about the practice of corporal punishment. “In some cases, paddles are made from shaved-down baseball bats. Students may also be hit with a hand or taped-together rulers.” How? How is this a thing?
Without “permission” — corporal punishment is assault. God, even writing that feels absolutely gross. Unbelievable that in this country in 2016 you can sign a form that basically takes away your child’s right to not be physically assaulted. If Smith didn’t sign that form, the school had no right to dole out that punishment. Regardless of someone’s feelings about the practice, we should at least be able to agree that it can’t happen against a parent’s wishes.