What year is it again? 2012? Are you sure? Americans live in a country where if you spank your child and leave a mark, you risk being accused of child abuse. It's hard to believe that there are nineteen states actually condoning some forms of corporal punishment in their school systems.
A recent paddling incident involving a Springtown High School student has captured the attention of Americans from all over the country. Taylor Santos, a student and athlete near Fort Worth, Texas had the option of spending two days in in-school suspension for allegedly letting another student copy her classwork or choose to get paddled.
ABC reports that Santos went to the vice principal's office to request a paddling because her grades are very important to her. She called her mom, Anna Jorgensen, who apparently stated that as long as her daughter was okay with it, so was she. That's right... Mom and daughter gave the green light.
There is a little bit of a twist to this story though. Both mother and daughter were expecting the "punisher" to be a female as the school policy mandates that males paddle the males and females paddle the females. That is not how it got played out.
Santos was subjected to a spanking session from the vice principal who is a man. The VP issued the punishment while a female witness was in the room watching. According to ABC, Jorgensen states that because of the force that Santos was struck, her bottom was fire engine red and looked as if it had been "burned and blistered." Santos' mother took photos as evidence.
Are you in a little bit of shock? This seems about as ludicrous as abolishing every type of birth control doesn't it? If you live in one of the other 31 states that deems this act illegal, you are probably outraged that this practice takes place.
ABC reports that the Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that it was legal unless it was abolished by local authorities. Efforts to ban it in Texas as well as a handful of other states have failed. It wasn't until 2011, when laws were introduced in Texas giving parents the right to exempt their students from paddling.
According to school policy, parents who don't want their children to be subject to corporal punishment must submit a written statement each year. Jorgensen was among the many parents who condone the practice in her daughter's school with the current same-gender policy in place.
WFAA reports that Springtown ISD Superintendent Mike Kelley is going to ask the school board to abolish the same gender policy, since adhering to it can be difficult on some campuses.
Jorgensen will reportedly be at the school board meeting to encourage them not to abolish the same-gender policy.
"I think Taylor is proof that we need to keep that policy," she said. "I don't believe a man intentionally meant to do that to her, but it still happens, because men are too big and strong to be hitting 96-pound girls."
If we're going to hold on to old-fashioned tactics in the classroom, why not have the kids write something on the chalkboard a hundred time, put them in the corner or dish up some good old-fashioned after-school detention?
Why should a kid be subjected to what some call "physical abuse" when teenagers that break the law aren't physically touched? Is this child abuse?
Jimmy Dunne, president of People Opposed to Paddling Students (POPS) believes that it is abuse. A former math teacher in the Houston Middle Schools, Dunne founded POPS in 1981 and has been on the receiving end as well as delivering the punishment. But he refused to participate after noticing that some teachers were "getting sadistic pleasure out of hitting these kids."
Dunne has met a lot of resistance as he has tried to get schools to abolish the practice. In June, he appeared at an anti-corporal punishment in schools rally in Washington, D.C., and will be attending a school board meeting on Monday after a 13-year-old student at Barbers Hill Middle School in Houston was covered with welts and bruises after a paddling he received for getting three consecutive zero grades.
Members of the Texas legislature say, 'I was paddled, and I turned out OK,'" he said. "Or they say they want to leave it up to the local district to decide. They think it's good discipline. But it's legalized child abuse. I always say if this was done away from the school, the person would be arrested."