[Guest post by DRJ]
The Washington Post profiles a Texas town where the parents and the school district have brought back paddling:
“In an era when students talk back to teachers, skip class and wear ever-more-risque clothing to school, one central Texas city has hit upon a deceptively simple solution: Bring back the paddle.
Most school districts across the country banned paddling of students long ago. Texas sat that trend out. Nearly a quarter of the estimated 225,000 students who received corporal punishment nationwide in 2006, the latest figures available, were from the Lone Star State.
But even by Texas standards, Temple is unusual. The city, a compact railroad hub of 60,000 people, banned the practice and then revived it at the demand of parents who longed for the orderly schools of yesteryear. Without paddling, “there were no consequences for kids,” said Steve Wright, who runs a construction business and is Temple’s school board president.
Since the policy was changed in May, the school system has paddled only one student, and that was at the request of his parent, [John Hancock, assistant superintendent of administration for the Temple schools] said.
Many districts, including Temple, which is nearly evenly divided among white, black and Hispanic students, require parental consent before the punishment is given. Temple also requires the student’s consent, Hancock said, and the punishment is considered equivalent to an out-of-school suspension.
Residents said restoring paddling is less about the punishment and more about the threat.
“It’s like speeding,” said Bill Woodward, a graphic designer. “Are they going to give you a speeding ticket, or . . . a warning? I’d speed all day if I knew it was going to be a warning.”
However, Temple’s new discipline policy may end if Congress passes legislation that abolishes paddling:
“A House subcommittee held a hearing on the practice Thursday, and its chairman, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), is gearing up for a push to end the practice once and for all. She plans to introduce legislation within weeks.”
The Washington Post is taking a poll on whether paddling should be allowed in schools.