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School CP - April 1987

Corpun file 07030

Houston Chronicle, Texas, 30 April 1987

School offers option on paddling, running

By Cathy Gordon, Stephanie A. McGrath

THE WOODLANDS - Sixty-three Knox Junior High School male students - including the principal's son - were given the option of being "popped" with a wooden board or running 100 yards on their hands and feet as punishment for unsatisfactory conduct.

"It was either do bear crawls or get a pop," said Principal Thomas Randle.

One mother complained her 13-year-old son's paddling was specifically against her written orders, which school officials said they couldn't find in their files.

"The kids that get bad grades in conduct or effort, not in athletics, are evidently punished by the coaches," complained Kristi Kitchens, whose son, Scott, was among those who chose to be paddled.

Randle said the pupils, all seventh-graders and part of a 120-student athletics class, were punished for unsatisfactory conduct marks in academic classes. Six-week report cards came out Monday.

"It's just something our school does to reinforce academics and show the students they can't always cut up in class," said Randle.

He said students' files indicate if their parents are against corporal punishment and said Kitchens' disapproval "was never reflected in our files."

Kitchens said she signed a paper at the beginning of the year indicating her opposition to corporal punishment and had discussed her feelings with school counselors.

"Most of the kids say it's no big deal," she said. "I don't want to come across like this mother whose baby cub has been touched by some unknown person, but as a parent you do have some rights, and I think it's legalized child abuse."

Randle said students who receive bad conduct marks are usually kept from competing in sports events. "But it's near the end of school and there are no athletics to hold them out of," he said. "They start thinking they can do anything they want. So, this is the alternative ...."

Randle said three coaches administered pops to 50 students Tuesday, using a wooden board. "It's been approved," he said. "It's been used for quite a few years."

The students leaned over a desk to receive the spanking with two teachers as witnesses, Randle said.

"My son received one," he said. "Not only has he acted up in school, but we're dealing with prepubescent behavior at home. With the pops, it's quicker - it's over and done with."

blob Follow-up: 1 May 1987 - School officials asked for explanation in wake of paddling complaint

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