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Groups oppose school spanking

To spank or not to spank – that is the question on the minds of the Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union.
In a joint press release both organizations have called for the end of corporal punishment in the state of Texas, saying that in the 2006-2007 school year 49,197 public school students were physically punished.
The 125-page report titled “A Violent Education: Corporal Punishment of Children in U.S. Public Schools” claimed that in the state of Texas, children between the ages of 3 and 19 are routinely punished for minor infractions and that in Texas and nationwide, special education students as well as African American students are punished at rates disproportionate with other students.
The Ennis ISD is among the school districts in Texas with a corporal punishment policy giving parents the option of signing a written permission slip allowing the school to spank their children if needed.
The policy found on the EISD web site states:
“Corporal punishment may be used as a discipline management technique in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. Corporal punishment shall be limited to spanking or paddling the student and shall be administered only in accordance with the following guidelines:
1. The student shall be told the reason corporal punishment is being administered.
2. Corporal punishment shall be administered only by the principal or designee.
3. The instrument to be used in administering corporal punishment shall be approved by the principal.
4. Corporal punishment shall be administered in the presence of one other District professional employee and in a designated place out of view of other students.”
Retired local educator Bob Taylor said that not only was he on the receiving end of swats as a student, but he also had to administer them in his role as an assistant principal and as a principal.
“Back when I was in school the teachers had more authority over their students and we knew if we were out of line, we could get swats as punishment,” he said. “I’ve also had to give students swats in my 36 years as an educator and I can tell you there was an equal tie in the student not wanting to get them and me not wanting to give them, but I did find they were a good last resort to prevent bad conduct in students.”
Taylor said problems with corporal punishment are usually the result of people using it to a severe degree and abusing the policy.
“There are always two sides to every issue and the people against swats have reasons for it, so I understand their side too, but I saw it to be effective when I was an educator.”
Parents remain divided on the issue with some ready to hand over the right to discipline their students to the schools and others taking a hard stance against it.
Anna Rosales, who has students in the fourth and sixth grade says she is all for corporal punishment in the school system, but with limitations.
“I am all for the schools being able to handle the issue at school as long as they call and tell me before punishment has been given,” she said. “If my kids need to be punished for something they have done, it needs to happen at the school because that is where the incident happened. However, they also know that there will be repercussions at home as well. I think if more parents allowed corporal punishment the amount of citations the school officers have to issue would be greatly reduced.”
Rosales credits her open-minded attitude toward corporal punishment to the fact that her parents raised her that way and she had an old-fashioned upbringing.
Mother of three, Charity Cihak takes the other side of the issue and refuses to allow the school to step in and administer corporal punishment to her children.
“I do not allow the school to spank my children, because I do not spank them,” she said. “I have always found other ways to punish them if they deserved it and I think the school can put them in detention or something along those lines instead of spanking them. I don’t think that school officials should be given the right to physically strike a child just because there is always room for questions to be raised later.”
The Human Rights Watch and the ACLU are calling on the state of Texas and the federal government to prohibit corporal punishment in all public schools based on the findings in their report.

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Posted by on Aug 21 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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