Texas school district introduces ‘paddling’ to punish students

Bowen Xiao
By Bowen Xiao
July 23, 2017US News
Texas school district introduces ‘paddling’ to punish students

School officials from a Texas district have approved a controversial way to discipline misbehaving students—paddling.

The policy will allow for paddles, most likely made out of wood, to administer corporal punishment when a student misbehaves at school, USA Today reported.

The board of trustees from the Three Rivers Independent School in Southern Texas approved the new policy on July 18.

Corporal punishment is defined as the “deliberate infliction of physical pain by hitting, paddling, spanking, slapping, or any other physical force used as a means of discipline,” according to the Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA).  

Board Trustees voted unanimously 6-0 in favor of the motion—one member was absent. The policy states that the disciplinary measures can only be used by a campus behavior coordinator or principal, USA Today reports.

Parents will be able to decide whether to opt in or out of the new policy upon registering their children for the next school year.

“If the parent is not comfortable with it, that’s the end of the discussion,” the school district’s superintendent Mary Springs told the Caller-Times.

Texas is one of 15 U.S. states where corporal punishment is legal, and eight other states have no law prohibiting it.

The new policy at the Three Rivers Independent School District is set to begin at the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

In November, former education secretary John B. King Jr sent a letter to state leaders urging a ban on the use of corporal punishment in schools. King argued that the practice is linked to harmful short-term and long-term effects for students, USA today reported.

Kings letter cited a study concluding that students who received physical punishment at school showed an increase in aggressive and defiant behavior in the short-term. In the long term, however, students were more likely to grapple with substance abuse and mental health issues, including depression, personality disorders, and post-traumatic stress.

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