When 16-year-old Jada was swatted at school for being sarcastic with a teacher and assistant principal, her mother, Cathi Watt, was unsympathetic. But when bruises later appeared on Jada’s skin, Watt was disturbed. The teen’s mother told KATU News, that Jada “deserved to be spanked, ‘but she did not deserve to be bruised.'”
Watt, like other parents in the district, do not have a problem with teachers paddling their children. Parents have filed complaints, however, about girls coming home with bruises from being swatted by male administrators. Watt is concerned about what message this sends to the students.
“What kind of message does it send to boys?” Watt asks KATU,“Is it telling them that it’s OK to hit a girl?”
Corporal punishment in public schools is a more common practice than many would think, with 19 states allowing administration to paddle students. Slate reports that Texas and Florida have both tried to ban paddling in recent years, but without success. It seems that parents merely want more guidelines regarding in-school swatting. The Associated Press summarizes the new guidelines as follows:
“Board members voted Monday night 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 official must witness the paddling, which is just one ‘swat,’ and that parents also can request one spanking per semester. In all cases, a parent must give written permission and request it in lieu of another punishment, such as suspension or detention.”
So, according to the new rules, a 250 pound man can still take a swing at a 98 pound girl, as long as another female is present. Cathi Watt said she’s OK with paddling in schools because, according to The Miami Herald,“[the students] need it once in a while, and I got them when I was a kid.” However, since administrators are still allowed to swat students of the opposite sex, she opposed the new policy.
“I personally think Texas is getting a black eye because of this,” Kelley told The Associated Press. “People are assuming a school district can do whatever it wants because of this. That’s not the case.”
The Miami Heraldreports that Texas law allows corporal punishment unless a parent or guardian specifically prohibits the discipline in writing. There is also a maximum number of times a student can be paddled in one semester, although there is no minimum or maximum age requirement.
Reader: What do you think? Should a school be allowed to use corporal punishment when dealing with students, even when an adult male may swat a teen girl?