Texas School District Approves Paddling As Punishment For Students

by Mike Julianelle
Image via Shutterstock

Students can only be paddled if a parent gives the okay

Last week, trustees of a school district outside San Antonio voted to bring corporal punishment back to their classrooms.

Texas is one of 15 states that still allow corporal punishment in their schools.

An article on USA Today has the details of the decision, passed down in a 6-0 decision (one member was absent) by officials in the Three Rivers Independent School District, which is 75 minutes south of San Antonio.

Minor infractions such as disobeying classroom rules could subject a child to the paddling, provided their parents have signed off.

The practice is largely banned in Texas, including by Houston Independent School District, the largest in the state. The superintendent of one such district, Sealy ISD, explained why they decided to ban corporal punishment in their schools.

“We think that corporal punishment should be a family decision, not a school decision,” superintendent Sheryl Moore told CBS News. “We will provide the parent with all the information necessary regarding the situation so they can decide whether they think that’s appropriate. But that’s not something the school district wants to be involved in.”

Despite the fact that studies have shown the negative effects that physical punishment has on children, far too many schools still employ it. In 2017.

A quick look at a Houston news station’s Facebook page, littered with commenters weighing in on the Three Rivers’ decision, shows why.

“If parents would teach their children how to act right, they wouldn’t have to worry about they’re kid getting paddled at school… I say if you don’t want someone to teach your kids respect, DO IT YOURSELF!”

“Yes…as an educator yes…with permission from the parents of course and I think the parents should be there when they get paddled. If you don’t want someone else to do it then teach your kids RESPECT!!!”

“Yes I believe in paddling! Back when paddling happened at the schools and at home we didn’t have the thugs that you see walking around now a days !! My kids were spanked with a belt … and they are all upstanding citizens !!”

Of course, not everyone agrees.

“If anyone ever touched my kid, I would beat them senseless. Nope, no way. I would pay for private school.”

“No one better be touching my children…If you have a problem with them let me or their father, my husband, know and we will handle it privately at home. That’s MY CHILD not yours”

Even leaving aside the broader debate over spanking and physical punishment of any kind, the idea that a parent would sign off on a teacher or administrator or anyone besides themselves laying a hand – or a paddle – on their kids is pretty insane.

Children can be frustrating creatures, no doubt, and that’s an understatement even when referring to your own kids. Teachers who are in charge of classrooms of other people’s children are required to have otherworldly patience, and the challenges they face – for meager pay and little appreciation – can’t be taken lightly.

But physically punishing children, especially someone else’s children, especially with a paddle, especially for “minor incidents,” isn’t an acceptable method of discipline. Not for my kids. Not for anyone’s.