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School CP - August 2006

Corpun file 18081

The City Paper, Nashville, Tennessee, 2 August 2006

Letters to the editor

Take some responsibility

Your article, "Rise in Teen Violence" (July 28) ends with Don Aaron's statement, "This community has got to intervene in the lives of the children -- and that means immediate family, extended family, and social and religious institutions -- before it's too late."

I fully agree, but I believe that the school system needs to take some responsibility. If more aggressive discipline is practiced in the schools -- like corporal punishment -- maybe it would grasp the attention of the students and parents. The students who continuously get in trouble have no regard for authority. There are no consequences for their actions, so where is the incentive for them to act appropriately?

Students need to be held accountable for even the lesser infractions -- dress code violations, disrespect, fighting -- because these infractions escalate into major ones (robbery, drugs, gangs).

Corporal punishment IS a deterrent. Many baby boomers remember having to behave in school -- we had no choice. And if we got a paddling at school, we got one when we got home. It WORKS.

We have to restore credibility, integrity and control to the teachers and administration. Because so many students are out of control, they are now controlling US.

Susan Quinn

Copyright 2000-2004, The City Paper LLC.

Corpun file 18184

Tulsa World, Oklahoma, 7 August 2006

Hometown hero

Henryetta residents share tales of Hall of Fame and ex-Hen Troy Aikman

By Jimmie Tramel
World Sports Writer


HENRYETTA - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman learned small-town values, and the value of hard work, while growing up in Henryetta. He baled hay, tended to farm animals and labored to succeed in football, baseball and basketball.

People who knew Aikman before he was a star, and before he wore a star on his helmet, shared recollections of his Henryetta years. The sandy haired lad who used to change tires at Western Auto was inducted Saturday in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, giving Henryetta a chance to reflect on a favorite son's accomplishments, including three Super Bowl championships and first place in a high school typing contest.

Best man

Troy Aikman earned the right to have friends in high places, but he didn't throw his old best friend into the discard pile. Former Henryetta classmate Daren Lesley and Aikman are still inseparable. Aikman was best man at Lesley's wedding.

The shrine

Charlotte Klutts said she is not a stalker. What is she? She's the curator of a personal museum dedicated to all things Aikman.

Klutts worked at the Henryetta Free-Lance newspaper from 1977-93, a span of years covering Aikman's arrival from California to his Dallas Cowboys era. Aikman's mother worked as a typesetter at the newspaper, so Troy often dropped by the office to visit mom.

Goodbye beach boy, hello licks

Aikman got culture shock when he moved from California to Henryetta. But many Henryetta yearbook pictures (he appeared on 16 pages of his senior yearbook, which was more than any classmate) show him wearing blue jeans and cowboy boots.
"We made a country boy out of him," Spurlock said.
This is definitely country. Aikman cherished his 1978 Ford F-150 pickup to such a degree that he once refused to leave it alongside the road when it stalled. He and a friend pushed the truck to safe refuge and he called for help.

Though Aikman adjusted to rural living, especially after he made friends, he bristled at an Oklahoma practice called corporal punishment. School personnel promised licks for misbehavior and Aikman had to ask friends what a "lick" was. Told that it was a paddling, Aikman said that doesn't happen at California schools.

Lesley said you got a lick for anything -- talking in class, not doing homework, being late for the bell. Coaches liked to see who could paddle the hardest and Lesley said you got a lick in basketball practice if you missed a layup.
"If you were a normal young man, somewhere along the line, you got your licks," Lesley said.
Eventually, Aikman found out first-hand what licks were. "The first time he got it, he wasn't real happy about it," Lesley said.


Copyright © 2006, World Publishing Co. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 18195

Shore Line Times, Guilford, Connecticut, 8 August 2006

The day Chas arrived at our school

By Terry Hargrove
Staff writer

There is a saying in the South: if that'd been a snake, it woulda bit me. What this means is that you can be so close to something, that you can't see it. Here's an illustration.

In the summer of 1967, Chas arrived at our school. Chas was from California, had long hair, claimed to have surfed once, and had several letters missing from his first name. The girls loved him, and we didn't know why. His contempt for Tennessee was open and unending, and he regarded our paddle swinging teachers as relics from a lost age.

At Connelly Junior High School, every teacher owned a paddle and every paddle had a name. I became familiar with several of them during an especially trying seventh grade year. Mr. Wilson's paddle was Night Train, Coach Bo swung Big Red, and Mrs. O'Riley was the owner of Shuddup II (the first Shuddup was stolen - I don't know anything about it, really).

There were other paddles, paddles of legend we heard about but had not seen and hoped never to see. After some painful trial and error, we learned which teachers could be safely taunted and which ones had the good wood. I will not debate the merits of corporal punishment, because I don't think there are any. I will say that we didn't fight at school as often as kids seem to today, because any guy in gym shorts who could take three shots from Coach Bo's Big Red was a guy best avoided. A paddling in my youth was like the sun. We knew it was there, and if you wandered out of the shade, it would burn you.

One day after school, several of us gathered around Chas while he was waiting for the bus. Willard Green acted as spokesman for us all. Willard was dumb as a rock and almost deaf, but he had a directness of speech that we all envied. He didn't beat around the bush. He beat the bush.

"Now, listen here, boy," he said. "You got funny hair, but you can cut that, and if you'll stop lying about surfing, we'll forgive that, too."

"Are you guys going to jump me?" Chas asked.

"No, no and hell no," said Willard, casting nervous glances in the school's direction. "Man, fighting on the bus ramp means three licks from Mr. Houston's Pain Party. You ain't worth that."

"I can't believe these teachers can still paddle students," said Chas. "This town needs a good lawyer."

"Shut your mouth!" demanded Willard. "What do you want, for us to get paddled then sued? I tell you what we're going to do. We promise to let you hang out with us, if you'll agree to let some teacher paddle you. I don't care who, but you can't be one of us until you've been paddled."

"I changed my mind. I don't want to be one of you," said Chas.

"We know you do," replied Willard. "We'll expect you to be paddled tomorrow during lunch."

I've heard people talk about peer pressure as if it was invented in the 1990s, but it's been around forever. Chas was alone at school, and there is nothing worse than being alone when you're surrounded by people. Even though the idea of letting a stranger hit him with wood was repulsive, the loneliness was worse. The next day, he scanned the teachers like a carnival worker, seeking the oldest, weakest wood he could find. After two bites of his Salisbury steak, he'd located his mark. Mrs. Edna Farquahar, 73 pounds and 105 years old, sat with the principal whom she had taught during the Renaissance, and was giving him an earful about the good old days before the wheel.

"That's the one," said Chas. "Right there at the head of the teacher table."

"The principal?" asked Willard. "Man, you got guts. OK, go for it."

"No, not the principal," corrected Chas. "The grandma next to him. Mrs. Farquahar. I've even done research. She went to the University of Georgia, class of... 17 something."

Willard froze like a fox in the rifle scope. There was a collective silence, a shocked intake of breath. "Stop him," I said to Willard, as Chas stood and walked toward the teachers. "Too late. Too late," muttered Willard.

Chas pranced to the table, bent and said something to Mrs. Farquahar, and the whole cafeteria hushed. The principal, Mr. Hardison, went gray as a ghost and scooted his chair away from Chas out of fear. Mrs. Farquahar sent two girls to her room, and they returned with a slab of timber they could barely handle. When Chas saw it, his jaw fell, and he turned on us.

"They made me say it! They made me say it!" he screeched. But even as he did so, he turned and bent. Such was the power of the legend and the legend had come to life.

"Behold, young man," said Mrs. Farquahar in the dramatic voice reserved for teachers who had sent students off to two World Wars, "The Excaliburn. Do you think Lucifer just waltzed out of the garden of Eden? No, no, no. The Archangel Michael beat him out of Eden with this paddle. And now I will beat the devil out of you."

The paddle rose. Lightning danced along its edge. Reality sizzled as the wood came down in a mighty arc. When it made contact with Chas, there was a sonic boom, I swear, a sonic boom. But she only struck once. As wood met denim, the mighty Excaliburn cracked and broke.

Chas shuffled back to us, taking short, wooden steps. "I can't feel my rear," Chas said. "She has killed my rear."

He became a legend that day, replacing the legend whose parts now littered the cafeteria floor. Mrs. Farquahar retired that very afternoon, and Mr. Hardison never again allowed a teacher to administer corporal punishment in his school. As principal, he'd delivered his share of paddlings to a thousand unruly kids, but he'd never seen a paddling before. He'd been too close.

We had no appreciation for what we had seen, but the past met the future that day, and in their consummation, the past was destroyed. If we're lucky, the world will always work that way. Chas moved back to California at the end of the school year. Poor Willard and his family went to Giles County, a place not so enlightened. Though he often told the story of Chas and Excaliburn, nobody there believed him and he was often paddled for lying. Giles County was too far away. Some things have to be seen from the proper distance, or maybe the past is stronger in some towns than others.

© Shore Line Times 2006

Corpun file 18196

Frederick News-Post, Maryland, 8 August 2006

Spare Ron, spoil child

By Maude Franceschina

I remember reading about the Terpko incident back in June. For those who somehow missed it, here is how it went: Thurmont Town Commissioner Ron Terpko smacked his son, Brandon, in the face after his son was involved in the destruction of mailboxes. A police officer was present when Ron struck his son and the father was charged with assault at the scene.

One of the most important things a dad should give his kids is a healthy fear of consequences. Ron Terpko should have been charged with a crime if he did not smack his son.

I realize, of course, there is a difference between discipline and abuse. Abuse is never justified, but discipline can be very valuable.

When will children learn right from wrong if their parents are afraid to tell them? Oh, I know there are some touchy-feely, new age parents out there who have never, ever raised a hand to their child to discipline them. They proudly proclaim that they are against spanking, claiming the child gets the wrong message.

Guess what? You don't have to tell the rest of us that you don't spank your children, we can tell.

Unfortunately, children have been given way too much power within families today. I am watching curiously to see how this generation of kids will turn out. Hoping for the best, with the "best" seeming less and less likely.

I have seen children behave abominably at school and the school personnel are unable to control them. I remember the lines at the principal's office for paddling in the old days. I do not remember any particular child being allowed to disrupt the class on a daily basis.

I have heard parents (whose children are unbearable) tell the school, "(Johnny) is your problem during the day," refusing to address issues of behavior that occur at school. If the educators can't correct the children in any meaningful way, and parents won't, or in some cases will get in legal trouble if they do, then what's left?

In many families, the children dictate the activity of the parents. The parents feed off the pride they feel about their kid's accomplishments, the kids make demands and the parents break their necks to meet them.

You see, if the parents are counting on their child's performance for their social standing, then the happiness of the kid might directly impact the parents and their personal self-esteem. Just give them whatever they want to ensure they continue to perform.

So the Terpko case was a different sort. Instead of quietly whisking away his son and repairing whatever damage as cleanly as he could, to save his own reputation, Ron Terpko acted like a good, redblooded American dad. One you might have met in the 1950s. Ron is clearly a dad who demands respect and doles out discipline. Who would have expected that to become unusual or even heroic?

I would bet that Brandon Terpko is a good kid. Even good kids sometimes do bad things and make poor decisions. That is part of the definition of "kid."

The whole mess is a result of our tendency as a culture to check our common sense at the door of "detail." Kind of like when the "system" wanted to eliminate evidence voluntarily provided by the killer of Jessica Lunsford when he admitted killing the girl and led police to the body without the presence of a lawyer who might tell him, "That's not a good idea." But I digress.

It was nice to see last week that the charges were dropped against Ron Terpko. Next time my kids act up, I will be asking myself, "What would Terpko do?"

Copyright 1997-06 Randall Family, LLC. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 18182

Leader-Call, Laurel, Mississippi, 9 August 2006

Laurel schools OK corporal punishment

By Nathan Martin
L-C Correspondent


Excused absences are out, and corporal punishment is in, according to the Tuesday night decision of the Laurel School Board. Those decisions were part of the Laurel School Board's monthly meeting at the Gardiner administration building, which saw a number of items pass across the legislative table.

The decision over whether to reimplement corporal punishment in the Laurel School District came after discussion and careful deliberation over the possible ramifications of implementing that policy.

"Teachers must realize that this policy does not shield them from the possibility of a lawsuit if they overstep this policy," said Laurel School District Superintendent Dr. Glenn Magee. "They have to make sure that they stay within the guidelines of this policy."

Discussing the policy with the board's attorney, Richard Yoder, the board spent a considerable amount of time examining the policy before voting on the proposed change.

"Most all school districts have some policy concerning corporal punishment and most of them use it," said Yoder. "It's been seen to be more effective in elementary school than in high school, but these schools know that they have it, if it is wanted to be used."

According to Laurel School District policy, females cannot be disciplined by males, and parents do not have to sign a consent form in order for discipline to be enforced. Teachers and principals were gathered at the meeting Tuesday night, to voice their approval for the proposed punishment plan.

"It is hard to do things in classrooms when kids tell us that we can't do anything to them, because their parents won't allow it," said one teacher. "Without discipline it is hard to teach kids correctly."

After consulting these teachers, and discussing the plan among themselves, board members voted to adopt corporal punishment into the accepted policy.

"This protects the students, administrators and educators as best as possible," said board member Mike Axton. "I think we should vote to adopt the plan."


Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.

Corpun file 18181

Southeast Sun, Enterprise, Alabama, 10 August 2006

Local schools change policies over summer

By Jeremy Wise
Sun Staff Writer


The Enterprise City and Coffee County school systems made changes to some policies during the summer, including rules limiting the use of cellular phones and other electronic devices.

In the Enterprise school system, cell phone use is prohibited during the day and during after-school programs.

"They can have them at school, but they shouldn't use them at school," said Dr. Jim Reese, superintendent of the Enterprise school system. "We don't want our class instruction interrupted."

Milner said the disciplinary action has been set for the secondary schools.

"On the first offense, there is a warning. The cell phone is taken up and returned to the student at the end of the day. On the second offense, the cell phone is taken up and returned to the parents. A student has the option of corporal punishment or detention," Milner said.

"On the third offense, there is a one-day suspension, and the cell phone is returned to the parents," Milner added.

In the Coffee County system, students are not allowed to have any cell phones or electronic devices on their person during the day.

Students are asked to leave the device in their vehicle or their locker during the day.

© Southeast Sun 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 18179

Bogalusa Daily News, Louisiana, 16 August 2006

BCS board questions discipline

'Strong consequences' needed in system

By John Carson
The Daily News


BOGALUSA -- After lauding teachers, students and administrators for the opening of the 2006-07 school during his comments at Monday's Bogalusa School Board committee meeting, Bogalusa City Schools Superintendent Jerry Payne drew pointed response from board members over additional comments about school discipline.

Payne has admitted effort is under way for 06-07 to improve student behavior through added emphasis on school-wide positive behavior (PBS) - an overlying, curriculum-type program designed to improve student behavior inside and outside classrooms.

"I trust and believe discipline will be seen in our schools," Payne said in closing his comments.


"Teachers need to know the steps to take and what the guidelines are," board member Darren Reeves said. "They need to know what to do when they get to the end [of what steps the system has set down]."

"We can't let one or two students disrupt an entire class," board member Raymond Mims added. "Something has to be done. We cannot allow people to disrupt class for those who want to learn."

Much of the problem was laid at Payne's feet over the closing of BCS's alternative school, where disruptive students and those with behavior problems could be dealt with.

BCS Child Welfare and Attendance Director Stephanie Hoppen said the system has alternative classrooms for behavior problems and disruptive students, but it is little more than just babysitting because certified teachers cannot be found to make them more academically oriented.

"An alternative school is the best option," Hoppen said. "We need to remove those students from traditional school settings where they are causing problems."

Reeves requested confirmation that corporal punishment was part of BCS's discipline procedure. When assured it was, he wanted to know why it wasn't being used.

"Principals and teachers are afraid of being sued," Hoppen said.

"I'm tired of laws protecting criminals," Reeves said. "That's why we have parents taking students out of our system into the parish. The parish has discipline and enforces it."

"Teachers need to know the steps to take and what the guidelines are," board member Darren Reeves said. "They need to know what to do when they get to the end [of what steps the system has set down]."

"We can't let one or two students disrupt an entire class," board member Raymond Mims added. "Something has to be done. We cannot allow people to disrupt class for those who want to learn."

Much of the problem was laid at Payne's feet over the closing of BCS's alternative school, where disruptive students and those with behavior problems could be dealt with.

BCS Child Welfare and Attendance Director Stephanie Hoppen said the system has alternative classrooms for behavior problems and disruptive students, but it is little more than just babysitting because certified teachers cannot be found to make them more academically oriented.

Corpun file 18176


The Dallas Morning News, Texas, 20 August 2006

Power to the PADDLE

Some North Texas school districts are holding fast to corporal punishment, but critics say they're out of whack

By Kim Breen and Kathy A. Goolsby
The Dallas Morning News

EVERMAN -- A sign stuck to the principal's desk outlaws whining. A blue jar on a nearby shelf claims to hold the ashes of problem students.

wooden paddle TOM FOX/DMN

When principal Anthony Price arrived at Everman Junior High three years ago, he was warned about out-of-control students and threats to teachers. After getting parents' consent, he instituted paddling last year, and he says he's seen the results. 'The building is a pleasure to work in now,' he says.

But it's the custom-made, arm-length pine paddle that delivers the old-school discipline that Anthony Price says has helped turn his junior high school around.

He stands behind a practice headed toward extinction.


Principal Anthony Price of Everman Junior High ordered paddles for a few staff members last year; they were used on about 150 students. Before Mr. Price instituted paddling, he says, many parents approached him in favor of it.

Most local students returning to school this month will not face corporal punishment. But in a time when child psychologists, Dr. Phil and even Supernanny tout timeouts and tenderness, a dwindling number of holdout school districts continue to believe in the power of the paddle.

Some spank their students for missing homework, others for untucked shirt tails. They have the support of the state Legislature and their communities and say that despite research to the contrary, they're helping a generation that needs some old-fashioned remedy.

"We, as Americans, have let our school system get a little bit out of control," Mr. Price said. "I love children, but when I see how many are going astray, it's heartbreaking. ... Corporal punishment adds just one small fear factor back into the system."

Area educators used corporal punishment to discipline nearly 3,000 students last year, mostly in a half dozen small or high-minority districts, according to an analysis by The Dallas Morning News.

The Dallas school district became one of the last large urban districts in the country to ban corporal punishment, in 2005. Other local districts -- including Plano and Frisco -- have recently wiped long-unused policies from the books.

Opponents of paddling say that it's hurtful and unfairly targets minority and poor children, but that thankfully it's fallen out of favor with most schools.

"It's a dead and dying practice," said Nadine Block, executive director of the Center for Effective Discipline, a nonprofit organization based in Ohio that opposes corporal punishment.

"There is no research to support it. ... Children learn best when they are in a safe and supportive learning environment, not in an environment of fear."

Seeing a change

Mr. Price arrived in Everman, a small, predominantly black and Hispanic district outside of Fort Worth, three years ago.

Administrators warned him of out-of-control students and parents, low teacher morale and lousy test scores.

"We had teachers being cursed out, teachers being threatened, kids going to class and not doing anything but still expecting to pass," he said.

He and his staff at Everman Junior High School enlisted both modern and old-school punishments -- push-ups, writing assignments tailored to different offenses, night school, parent shadowing in class, and in-school and out-of-school suspensions.

Mr. Price said parents approached him as he cheered at football and basketball games.

"I sure wish you could just bust his butt and send him to class," Mr. Price recalled hearing more than once. Coming from Arlington schools, where paddling is prohibited, he was surprised to learn it was an option under Everman's policy.

"I am a fan of corporal punishment, only because I received it, and I know how it can change a person's attitude when you're on the receiving end," said Mr. Price, a man with an intimidating build but a genuine, kind and hearty laugh. "There is a difference between abuse and correction."

A paddle was not easy to find, so he placed a special order with a cabinetmaker and outfitted a few staff members. They delivered a total of 535 paddlings -- or "pops," as they call them -- to about 150 students last year. Parents consented first.

"There is a respect level in our building I will compare to any school anywhere now," he said. "The building is a pleasure to work in now. Parents and the students both understand that no disruption of the learning will be tolerated."

Assistant Superintendent James Melton said he has delivered many paddlings in his 40 years as an educator.

He once ran into a former student who had served prison time. Mr. Melton considered crossing the street to avoid him.

"He asked me if I'd shake hands with him," Mr. Melton recalled of the chance meeting 30 years ago. "He said, 'I just want you to know that if as many people had been as firm with me as you were, I might not have gone where I went.'"

Mr. Melton paused. "I still get emotional about it," he said.

The highest rate

The long, thin paddle in Jeremy Harpole's office looks glossy and new despite the busy schedule it kept last year. The Prosper High School assistant principal said 270 students -- or about half of the school -- were paddled a total of about 500 times last year.

The high school is the only campus in Collin County's small but fast-growing Prosper district that uses corporal punishment. Still, it uses it enough to give the district what could be the highest rate of students disciplined by corporal punishment in the Dallas area: about 15 percent.

"You can either get a detention or get what we call swats," Mr. Harpole said. "We give detentions out kind of like candy here."

Expectations are high, he said, and so are the rewards.

"Our hallways are spick-and-span. The kids look well, dress well, they act well."

But he expects corporal punishment will decline sharply this year as the school substitutes other punishments. Friday Night Reflection, a new mega-detention, will start this year.

"I don't have time in my schedule to constantly give swats all day long," he said, joking that he'd need arm surgery. He said outsiders moving to Prosper do not balk at the corporal punishment policy.

"Honestly, I just enrolled three different students," he said, including a student from Illinois and another from California. "I always tell new enrollees we do give corporal punishment. All three parents said, 'Yippee!' No lie."

Kayla Romine, 17, has chosen the paddle for punishment many times during high school, often for showing up late for class.

"It doesn't hurt at all," Kayla said. It's not an effective deterrent, either, she said. "It's just an easy way out of having to stay after school."

The swats seem stronger on the boys, said Kayla's friend, Marty Scott. Marty said he's been left sore enough that he wanted to cry. But he still prefers paddling. He, too, has taken many swats, mostly for skipping homework.

High-minority district

Area school districts that used corporal punishment last year generally fell into two categories -- rural like Prosper or high-minority like Everman and Grand Prairie.

The Grand Prairie school district, which is primarily Hispanic, reported the highest number of students disciplined by corporal punishment in the Dallas area last school year -- 1,260. Those students received 1,906 paddlings, about a third more than the year before.

More than half of last year's paddlings happened at South Grand Prairie High School's Ninth Grade Center, where 589 students, 63 percent of the student body, received corporal punishment 1,000 times.

"Every time a child comes to the office, we contact the parent, and if they request corporal punishment, then we do it," said principal Vicki Villarreal. "We don't just use it carte blanche."

But when students move next door to the 10th grade at South Grand Prairie High School, corporal punishment isn't an option. Former principal Roy Garcia banned it in 2003, because he didn't think it was effective.

"I felt there were other things we could do to change behavior, such as focus more on relationships between students and teachers," said Mr. Garcia, now an assistant superintendent in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD near Houston.

Mr. Garcia said abolishing corporal punishment created a better academic atmosphere, and students and staff seemed to treat each other with more respect. Grand Prairie principals aren't the only people with differing philosophies. Outgoing Superintendent David Barbosa is opposed to corporal punishment on any campus.

"I think if a youngster is in need of that kind of punishment, it is best administered by the parents, who have the primary care and responsibility of the child," he said. "There are other ways to modify a student's behavior."

But all seven school board members support keeping the option.

Nine-year-old Tyler Hulsey was paddled once for disruptive behavior in kindergarten.

"We'd tried everything, from taking away her recess to punishing her at home, so this was a last resort," said her mother, Danni Hulsey. "It was two swats, and I was in the room when she got them. It made a very big difference in her behavior."

Accepted in the South

Most school districts do not paddle for philosophical reasons, fear of lawsuits and waning parental support. The majority of the holdouts are in the South.

New Jersey was the first state to ban paddling, in 1867. In 2005, Pennsylvania became the 28th. That year the Texas Legislature reaffirmed its support for corporal punishment. A bill that would have ended it in schools never left committee.

"It is completely legally defensible," said Mari McGowan, an attorney with Abernathy, Roeder, Boyd and Joplin, which represents 17 Dallas-area districts, many in Collin County.

But districts don't want to spend money in court -- even if they would probably win, she said. "We generally advise not to include corporal punishment because of the exposure to potential lawsuits."

About half of her client districts, including Prosper, keep it on the books, but most don't use it. Those that do share parental support and tight guidelines. Nearly all districts allow parents to opt out.

"It's not controversial in those communities whatsoever," she said. "They're smaller communities. Everyone knows everyone."

Just four students were paddled in Irving last year.

"If I were a principal today, I wouldn't use it at all," said Superintendent Jack Singley, who worries about lawsuits. "My advice to them is, you're doing this at your own risk."

Sociologists generally argue against all corporal punishment. Psychologists are split, said Marjorie Lindner Gunnoe, a psychologist who has researched corporal punishment. But they all largely agree, it should not happen in schools.

Experts who support spanking at home say it should not be used on older children, Dr. Gunnoe said.

"Pretty much nobody says past the age of 7," she said.

As children age, she said, they see the adults who hit them more as peers. If an older child is hit by a parent, he might think, "If you can hit me, why can't I hit him?"

Hundreds of area students paddled last year were middle and high school students.

Another perspective

Saudia Shaheed, 28, still remembers getting paddled by her beloved kindergarten teacher for writing on a desk. What stands out most is that she was falsely accused. Her West Texas teacher gathered classmates in a circle to watch as she paddled misbehaving students.

Her son attends third grade in the Plano school district, which does not allow paddling.

If paddling were an option, Ms. Shaheed would be opposed. As a parent, she can't imagine someone else spanking her son. As a former Dallas teacher, she couldn't imagine paddling someone else's child.

Her mother spanked, but Ms. Shaheed does not.

"I just remember how it feels, and I wouldn't want him to feel that way," she said.

She's not surprised that some Texas schools still paddle.

"I think we still have a lot of traditional Southern ideas," she said. "We're slow to catch on to the not-so-traditional ways of handling children."

blob For more on paddling at Everman Junior High, see this Oct 2006 video clip.

Corpun file 18175


The Dallas Morning News, Texas, 20 August 2006

Faith, culture are factors in paddling

Experts: Conservatives, minorities are more likely to support it

By Kathy A. Goolsby
The Dallas Morning News

Religion and culture may help explain why Texas parents appear to support paddling in schools more than their counterparts in other parts of the country.


Cindy Rummel, a teacher's aide at Truman Middle School in Grand Prairie, says that she was spanked as a child and that she did the same to her children Andrea, 16, and Steven, 13, when the youths were growing up. 'And my friends knew if my kids ever did something that warranted a pop on the rear end, it was all right for them to do it,' Ms. Rummel says.

Many families embrace a strict Bible Belt philosophy that preaches against sparing the rod in disciplining children. And some minority groups, particularly black and Hispanic parents, also have cultural reasons for backing the practice.

A Dallas Morning News analysis of school districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area shows most students in metropolitan and suburban school districts are not paddled in schools. But pockets of corporal punishment tend to remain in high-minority districts and rural areas.

Rural residents typically are more conservative, said Murray Strauss, a sociology professor at the University of New Hampshire and an outspoken opponent of the practice.

"There's a kind of Southern culture of honor that persists to this day," Dr. Strauss said.

"There's the sense that if you're dishonored, you should do something, and 'do something' is a euphemism for 'hit' or 'be violent.' "

Psychology professor Marjorie Lindner Gunnoe of Calvin College in Michigan adds that parents are more likely to use corporal punishment on their children if they are religiously conservative or if they were paddled as children.

Dr. Gunnoe said research shows that less educated parents are more likely to spank and that white parents are less likely to spank than those in other ethnic groups.

She said that in many cultures, corporal punishment is viewed as a way to protect children by teaching them to submit to authority. She said some black parents may fear that a belligerent black teenager, for example, would be more likely to be clubbed by a police officer than a white teen who acted the same way.

Through the years, overall support for paddling has plunged, but black families -- and whites with strong fundamentalist beliefs -- are more likely to still support the practice.

Dr. Strauss cited a 1968 survey by the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence in which 94 percent of Americans polled agreed that "it is sometimes necessary to give a child a good, hard spanking."

According to research by Dr. Strauss, that number dropped to 50 percent by 1999, but white respondents were more likely to disapprove than blacks.

"That was using the identical question," Dr. Strauss said. "The decrease in approval has been much greater among Euro-Americans and less for African-Americans."

He believes the reasons are rooted in slavery.

"Some try to defend it as part of the African heritage, but I don't think that's the case," Dr. Strauss said. "I think it was an adaptation to the brutality of the slave life, and it's been carried over."

Jawanza Kunjufu, who has written dozens of books on black culture and families, disagrees. He points out that white plantation owners were the ones doing the beating.

"Following his reasoning, that would mean more whites would be using the belt," Dr. Kunjufu said. "If anything, African-Americans would want that the least because it would remind them of what happened to them during slavery."

He attributes African-Americans' strong support of corporal punishment to their strong Christian beliefs. Many blacks see the Bible as law, he said, and they embrace Proverbs 13:24, which says sparing the rod will spoil the child.

"In black culture, not only is the belt valued, but also the village, where any adult on the block also disciplined the child," said Dr. Kunjufu, a Chicago native whose father was reared in Texas.

Tray Allen, 17, a senior at South Grand Prairie High School, said that was true of his childhood. When he was about 6 years old, a neighbor saw him cross a busy street and followed him home to report it. A close family friend administered Tray's spanking.

"Sometimes my folks took care of it, but sometimes if you had that someone you were close to in the community, they might get a hold of you and take care of it," he said.

Acceptance of corporal punishment in the community may carry over into the schools. Grand Prairie ISD's African-American enrollment is 16 percent, but 25 percent of students receiving corporal punishment last year were black. Hispanic enrollment was 58 percent and white enrollment was 21 percent, but of those receiving corporal punishment, 54 percent were Hispanic and 19 percent white.

The reasons for the apparently disproportionate numbers are not clear. Grand Prairie parents sign a form each school year authorizing corporal punishment, but school officials said they do not keep totals of how many parents give permission. It could be, officials said, that more African-American parents give permission for their child to be paddled than parents of other races do.

Other factors may explain the higher percentage, such as more white and Hispanic students choosing in-school suspension over corporal punishment than black students, school officials said. But there are many white parents who support corporal punishment, too. Dr. Strauss contends that many but not all of them are fundamentalist Christians who take the Bible literally.

"And if you take it literally," he said, "you better beat the [expletive] out of kids."

Not all parents, black or white, are quite so strict in their beliefs, even when they back corporal punishment.

Grand Prairie native Cindy Rummel is a white mother of an eighth- and 11th-grader. Ms. Rummel is a teacher's aide at Truman Middle School in Grand Prairie who believes there is a time and place for paddlings.

"Yes, I gave my kids spankings when they were growing up, and my friends knew if my kids ever did something that warranted a pop on the rear end, it was all right for them to do it," said Ms. Rummel, 50. "I was always spanked if I needed it from a relative, and I turned out all right."

Staff writer Kim Breen contributed to this story.

Corpun file 18274 (WKRN-TV), Nashville, Tennessee, 28 August 2006

Mom Pushes Paddling Ban At Tullahoma School

Kandy Clark
A school paddling incident in Tullahoma has left many parents and school leaders with plenty of questions to answer. The incident happened last week at Tullahoma's East Middle School.

Paddling, or corporeal [sic] punishment, is up to individual school districts in Tennessee. But Kandy Clark says it went too far at East Middle after she gave a teacher permission to paddle her 12-year-old son, following words and shoving he had with another student there.

But Kandy says that the paddling left large bruises on her son's buttocks. Kandy complained to school officials before making it public when she went to police, filing a report that included pictures of her son's bruised buttocks.

The school's director said he had not seen the police report but was aware of the paddling incident. He said he believes that the teacher who administered the paddling and the principal who witnessed it followed school paddling guidelines.

After the incident with her son, Kandy now hopes that paddling will be banned after she previously condoned it.

Copyright 2006 by WKRN Nashville Tennessee. All Rights Reserved.

blob RELATED VIDEO CLIP (2 mins 17 secs) from WKRN Nashville, 28 August 2006.

Extract from local TV news about the above item. The complaining mother and the local Director of Schools are interviewed.


IMPORTANT: Copyright in this video material rests with the original copyright holders. This brief excerpt is reproduced under the "fair use" doctrine EXTERNAL LINK: opens in new window for private, non-profit, historical research and education purposes only. It must not be redistributed or republished in any commercial context.

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