When two teenage girls at Springtown High School reportedly suffered bruises after being paddled by male assistant principals, some parents complained. They weren’t upset about the punishment itself, but instead that the school violated the policy requiring that it be carried out by an educator of the same sex as the student.
So the 3,500-student Springtown district, west of Dallas, has changed its policy—to expand, not abolish, corporal punishment. Board members voted last week to let administrators paddle students of the opposite sex, after Superintendent Michael Kelley cited a lack of women administrators to carry out spankings.
The new policy says a same-gender school employee must witness the paddling, which is one “swat.” In all cases, a parent must give written permission and request it in lieu of another punishment, such as suspension or detention.
Texas law allows schools to use corporal punishment unless a parent or guardian prohibits it in writing. The issue of the student or educator’s gender is not addressed, and there are no state standards on the minimum or maximum ages of students who can be spanked, according to the Texas Education Agency.
A version of this article appeared in the October 03, 2012 edition of Education Week as Texas District Expands Student-Paddling Rule