After a controversy sparked by two teenage girls receiving a paddling in the buttocks administered by a male educator, board members of the Texas Springtown Independent School District have voted to allow educators of the opposite sex to spank students.
The school board's new policy, however, requires parents to put in writing any request for corporal punishment in lieu of other forms of punishment for their kids, and the administrator to deliver it. According to AP, the new policy requires that a school official of the same gender as the student receiving must be present and that the spanking should be "just one swat." The policy also allows parents to request one spanking per semester.
The Associated Press reports that Texas law allows schools to use corporal punishment unless a parent or guardian prohibits it in writing. The law, however, does not address the issue of gender of the person administering the spanking. There are also no regulations on age of students who may be spanked.
Media reports that a school administrator Kirt Shaw, spanked Taylor Santos, 15, and Jada Watts, 16, in the buttocks sparked a national controversy. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the paddling violated a school district policy adopted a year ago that corporal punishment should be administered by educators of the same gender as the student receiving punishment.
According to The Daily Mail, Superintendent Michael Kelley asked the board to consider changing the gender policy because not all of the schools have enough females to administer corporal punishment. He admitted that the two cases that raised controversy violated the policy in place at that time. and apologized to the girls and their parents.
The two girls, according to the parents who complained to school authorities, suffered bruises in their buttocks.
The Daily Mail reports that the Springtown Independent School District, however, voted Monday to allow corporal punishment be administered by members of the opposite sex in defiance of national outrage.
The parents of the teenage girls had not complained about the administration of corporal punishment on their daughters but that the school allowed an educator of the opposite sex to administer the punishment and that he hit the girls too hard. According to AP, Cathi Watt, whose daughter Jada, 16, was one of the two girls spanked, said she has no objection to paddling in schools. According to Watt, "they need it once in a while, and I got them when I was a kid." Watt's objection is that the punishment was administered by a male administrator who used too much force.
According to Watt, her daughter deserved to be spanked after she got mouthy with a teacher and an administrator, but she objected to the bruising her daughter suffered. The Atlantic Journal Constitution reports she said: "I gave consent for my daughter to get a swat, but I didn’t give consent for him to bruise my daughter. I don’t think a female will raise a bruise because she doesn’t have the strength of a male. I think this sends a message to boys that it’s OK to hit a girl and it’s OK to bruise a girl. That’s not right.”
Digital Journal reports that the other female student who received a paddling was Taylor Santos. She was spanked for allegedly allowing another student to copy her work. She, however, claimed that she did not know that the student copied her. Digital Journal reports Taylor opted for paddling because she did not want to miss a second day at school. But the spanking left her bruised on the backside for a week. Her mother, Anna Jorgensen, objected, saying "school policy was females swatted females, and males swatted males."
Jorgensen told Fox News that she became upset when she saw the welts on her daughter's buttocks and found that it was a man who had swatted her. According to the Daily Mail, Anna Jorgensen said the force of the spanking "left her daughter's bottom fire-engine red and covered in bruises." She said: "It looked almost like it had been burned and blistered, it was so bad."
Jorgensen said: "She was telling me it was numb and that it burned. And it looked like a burn. She slept on her side that night. She was more humiliated and embarrassed than anything, but the more she and I thought about it, it wasn’t fair and I thought I needed to do something about it."
According to Jorgensen, the day after the spanking, she called the administrator to make a complaint, but he defended his actions. Jorgensen claimed the administrator said it was normal for her bottom to look like this after receiving swats.
The Daily Mail reports that the school administrator who administered the spanking was Springtown High School's chief of Student Discipline for all Freshmen and Sophomores.
According to AP, the Center for Effective Discipline reports reports that Texas is one of 19 states that allows spanking in schools. According to the Center for Effective Discipline, 97 of the nation's 100 largest school districts have banned corporal punishment. People Opposed to Paddling Students based in Houston, reports that about 75 percent of the Texas state school districts stil use corporal punishment.
Jimmy Dunne, president of People Opposed to Paddling Students, said: "It is never OK to hit a child. Men should not be padding teenage girls, because there is a sexual connotation with teen girls but also with teen boys.” Dunne is here referring to the spanking fetish associated with BDSM (Bondage, Dominance-Submission, Sadism-Masochism) sexuality.
BDSM "Erotic spanking": Wall painting in the Tomba Della Fustigatione (Flogging grave) in the necropolis of Tarquinia in Lazio, Italy
Arguments in favor of the requirement that only a person of the same sex administer spanking overlook the fact that a BDSM "sexual connotation" may also arise where the educator administering the spanking is a lesbian or gay person of the same sex as the student.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, in an email sent to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dunne condemned paddling in schools as ''legalised child abuse." He said: "Hitting schoolchildren is no more acceptable than hitting your wife or your mother.''
According to AP, state Rep Alma Allen (D-Houston), who sponsored an bill to ban spanking in Texas schools that was never passed, said: “Parents can choose whether to spank their children at home [but] When you send a child to school, it should be a place to be motivated — not a place to be beaten.”