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School CP - March 2013

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Houston Chronicle (web only), 4 March 2013

Houston lawmaker's bill would stop 'paddling' in the classroom

By Erin Mulvaney


A Houston state representative hopes to eliminate some of the more physical tactics for student discipline in the classroom.

A measure filed by Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston, would alter the education code and no school district employees would be allowed to give students corporal punishment, including hitting, spanking and paddling, as a form of discipline.

Under current law, school officials and teachers can use force within educator-to-student relationships necessary for discipline.

The effort renews the divisive past attempts to reign in such punishment by school district employees. Allen has been trying to ban corporal punishment in schools altogether since the retired schoolteacher and principal arrived in the Legislature eight years ago.

During the previous legislative session, state lawmakers passed a measure by Allen that gave parents the power to provide a written statement stopping the school district from using force. That measure also included a provision that would prohibit campus police from issuing Class C misdemeanor citations to students in grades six and under for nonviolent, nonsexual, non-harassment type incidents.

Opponents of such measures in past years have argued that the measures micromanage classrooms and take away local control of districts, which can use their own discretion to implement corporal punishment.

Jimmy Dunne, president of the Houston group People Opposed to Paddling Students, sent an open letter to lawmakers and the House Education Committee, arguing in favor of Allen's bill. Dunne said eliminating physical punishments in classrooms has been abolished in 31 states.

"Hitting school children with boards leaves big bruises and teaches children that hitting is the way to solve problems," Dunne said. "The big cities in Texas, that is Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth and Austin, have put away the paddles but the children in many smaller school districts need protection from these beatings."

Copyright 2013 Houston Chronicle. All rights reserved.

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Action 4 News (KGBT-TV), Harlingen, Texas, 5 March 2013

San Benito superintendent against bill to ban spanking at Texas schools

Ryan Wolf by Ryan Wolf
Ryan Wolf is an anchor and reporter for Action 4 News.

Superintendent Superintendent School paddle Another view of a school paddle

Students who misbehave in the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District can be spanked.

The procedure is you put your hands on your desk," Superintendent Tony Limon said while demonstrating how paddling is administered.

He still remembers paddling students over the course of a decade using a customized grip on the wood as principal years back.

This is what he would tell someone who agreed to the spanking.

"I'm just gonna hit you here in the rear and it's just gonna be two swats and we're just gonna come in and whack," Limon said as he outlined the paddling process.

He still calls it an effective form of discipline under the right guidelines. "It's an option that we need to have, not for all students, but for some students," he explained. "Perhaps the one student that when swatted will never do that again."


Texas is one of 19 states that does allow corporal punishment at public schools, according to online reports.

But a Houston-area legislator wants the law changed to ban the practice. State Representative Alma Allen, D-Houston, filed the bill.

Her proposal would eliminate physical tactics of discipline like hitting spanking and paddling from the education code.

"Children don't learn in fear," the representative told Action 4 News over the phone. "They should not be beat. Corporal punishment is a form of child abuse and it is the only legal form of child abuse in the State of Texas."

Parents can currently opt out of corporal punishment with written notice to the school.

Those at Dr. Cash Elementary in San Benito have mixed reviews about the proposed all-out ban.

"I used to get spanked in school," Hipolito Zamora said.

He doesn't support the bill and calls the form of punishment ineffective. "I just got more violent... more angry," he said.

Veronica Segura agrees. "Not even in our house do we do it so why should somebody else," she said.

But Ruben Sanchez thinks there is a place for corporal punishment in Texas schools. "We all have our way of disciplining our kids and sometimes that's one of the ways that gets your attention," he explained.

Superintendent Limon hopes the legislative measure fails. "I happen to be old school," he said. "I happen to believe there's a place for corporal punishment."

To spank or not to spank at Texas schools, that is the question legislators will soon face.

Copyright 2007-2013 Barrington Broadcasting Group, LLC

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Action News 5 (WMC-TV), Memphis, Tennessee, 5 March 2013

Mid-South mom seeks answers after school paddling

By Michael Clark

Student's mother
Lisa McDonald, the student's mother

The teacher
Abbey Turner, teacher

Paddled student

(WMC-TV) -- A Mid-South mother wants answers after she claims her son was the victim of excessive punishment.

The teacher now has a misdemeanor citation for contributing to the abuse of a minor, but the mother feels that's not strong enough and says she's fighting for justice for her son.

"My son deserves to have justice done," Lisa McDonald said.

McDonald is livid after she said she found bruises on her 12-year-son Casey's backside. She said the marks are from corporal punishment at Tunica Academy after he was accused of being disrespectful to his teacher.

"Immediately when he showed me where the teacher had paddled him I saw the bruising and the welts, and I started taking pictures and photos and I called the law enforcement," she said.

Abbey Turner was cited for a misdemeanor, accused of contributing to the abuse of a minor. But McDonald is fighting for more answers after she took her son to the doctor.

"Her words were 'get an attorney, this is child abuse,'" McDonald said.

A spokesperson from the Tunica County Sheriff's Office said investigators looked into McDonald's case, but they felt claims were sufficient for a misdemeanor rather than a felony charge. Turner is still teaching at the private school and McDonald says her son is being teased.

"Nobody at the school will talk to me, nobody. No teachers, no headmaster, no board members; nobody will talk to me," said McDonald

Headmaster Ed Beach issued the following statement:

"Tunica Academy takes great pride in its students, staff, and proven history of preparing students for success in life. The administration has conducted a thorough investigation into the allegation against Mrs. Turner. The administration has determined that there was no misconduct or wrongdoing by her. The school has closed its investigation into this matter. Given the sensitivity of the allegations, the school is unable to make any further comments at this time."

McDonald said she's working with an attorney to get answers from the school. The sheriff's office said the investigation is ongoing.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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