Corporal Punishment legal in Texas, lawmaker in D.C. wants to ban - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/19/10

Corporal Punishment legal in Texas, lawmaker in D.C. wants to ban it

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By Ann Wyatt Little - bio | email

Lubbock, TX (KCBD) – Corporal punishment is legal in 20 states, including Texas. One Washington lawmaker is drafting legislation in an effort to stop spanking in schools across the country. It's a controversial topic across the country and has been for years.

The state of Texas says the decision to use corporal punishment is up to individual school districts and local districts on the South Plains see the issue differently.

"In LISD we have a local policy that allows principals to use corporal punishment," said Chief Academic Officer Dr. Kelly Trlica who adds that it is just one of many disciplinary techniques used in the district.

"I think it's used. It'd be difficult for me to speculate how many times it's used. I think if you ask average principal in Lubbock he or she would say it is used as a last resort or possible when some other method has not been successful," added Dr. Trlica.

According to the LISD policy, principals must consider the age, size, condition of student, part of the body to be struck and amount of force to be used before any student is punished. Parents can object to the use under state law.

Down the road, Frenship and Lubbock-Cooper school districts put the paddle away.

"Spanking or paddling of a student is not approved and is not allowed or utilized as a form of punishment," said Andy Penney, director of public information for Frenship ISD, citing the school's code of conduct manual.

"If we preach to students don't solve problems with violence and if kid gets in trouble what do we do? We hit him. It makes no sense to me. I'm not critical to people who want to do it but for our district we've found it doesn't work and there are other ways," said LCISD Superintendent Pat Henderson about the district's decision to ban corporal punishment almost 15 years ago.

Parents and students see the policy differently.

"I did give permission for it. I respected the authority of the school system and also believed that it wasn't the first thing you do. Usually there is a series of disciplinary actions before you get to that stage," said April Nunn, mother of two.

"My Mom's thought is if they didn't raise me then they shouldn't be able to lay a hand on me," said student Kirsten Richards.

"The key…it should be never be used maliciously or unreasonable and must be administered by a principal or designee and should be done under calm and collected circumstances where parents have been informed," said Dr. Trlica who adds that the district has not had problems with the policy.

According to the latest available numbers, of the estimated 225,000 students spanked in schools in 2006, nearly one fourth were from Texas.

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