The Three Rivers Independent School District in South Texas recently approved paddling as a disciplinary means in schools.
The new policy will allow for a principal or campus behavior coordinator to administer the paddling to children whose parents have given consent for corporal punishment to be used.
It will take effect beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, and upon registering kids for school, parents will have the choice to opt in or out of the punishment method.
“If the parent is not comfortable with it, that’s the end of the discussion,” Superintendent Mary Springs told USA Today.
According to thee Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, Texas is one of 19 states that either allow corporal punishment in schools or don’t regulate for or against it.
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 National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments.
Thirty one states have made it unlawful to enforce corporal punishment in public schools, and it’s unlawful in both public and private schools in Iowa and New Jersey.
According to the American Psychological Association, “Americans’ acceptance of physical punishment has declined since the 1960s, yet surveys show that two-thirds of Americans still approve of parents spanking their kids.”
But, spanking, especially in a school setting, doesn’t have positive outcomes, according to the experts.
“Physical punishment can work momentarily to stop problematic behavior because children are afraid of being hit, but it doesn’t work in the long term and can make children more aggressive,” Sandra Graham-Bermann, PhD, a psychology professor and principal investigator for the Child Violence and Trauma Laboratory at the University of Michigan, told the American Psychological Association.
Despite the research that shows the negative effects of physical punishment, there are mixed feelings about the new law online.
Some folks vehemently disagree with this decision to bring back corporal punishment in schools.
I fear message this sends to parents. Some parents cannot control themselves and physical punishment turns to abuse. It should be outlawed.
— Hopeful Citizen (@KimDHello) July 21, 2017
As a touch professional, this is deeply disappointing. This has consequences. Three Rivers ISD, stop!
— Janet Trevino (@JanetTrevino210) July 21, 2017
Others think this could be a good way to provide discipline:
There are those who don’t see this as a black and white kind of issue, however.
One Facebook user wrote, “My dad used to spank me with a big wooden board when I was little. Know what that taught me? To hate him and not get caught the next time. Corporal punishment was NOT the way for me, it might be for some kids, but I truly think it’s different for every child.”
According to the superintendent, there is a plan in place to see if the new law works.
“We will look at how many discipline referrals were made compared to last year and how many times (corporal punishment) was administered,” she told USA Today. “If it reduces the number of discipline referrals, then that is a good thing.”
What do you think about this?