Texas Law Allows Male Teachers To Spank Girls

Two teenaged girls from Springtown High School in Springtown,Texas came home from school with bruises on their buttocks. How did those bruises get there? The male assistant principals at their school had doled out “paddlings” as a consequence for misbehaving. Well, as you might imagine, the parents of these girls were livid and complained loudly!

But wait…as it turns out they were not complaining about the fact that their children had been physically abused by an educator while at school. No, they had agreed in advance that this kind of punishment was cool with them. It’s just that the perpetrators had been men instead of women. The deal was that only same-sexed teachers or principals could dole out the spanks.

This mix-up and all the upset it caused resulted in this Texas district taking a closer look at their corporal punishment policy. And that led to a few changes being made. Not, as you might imagine, to a rolling back of this archaic and deplorable practice but instead to an expansion of it! From now on, male teachers can do all the paddling of female students (all the way through senior year, mind you) that they want – assuming of course that the parents sign the appropriate paperwork in advance.

Texas is one of 19 states where it is still legal for students to be spanked at school. Sounds like a lot but really it isn’t – of the 100 largest school districts ion the country only three still allow it. So what’s up with Texas? Why do the parents there allow this abomination to continue? We have many readers from the Lonestar State and we love them. We know they want to be good parents and so we urge them (and every other mama out there) to take a stand against this deplorable practice. Make your voices be heard.

Why? Because:

  1. Being spanked at school (or home for that matter) is humiliating. Purposeful humiliation of a child or adolescent by an adult, especially one working in a public institution they must by law attend, is outrageous and despicable.
  2. Physical punishment is not an effective deterrent of undesirable behavior. In other words, it doesn’t work. This is not an opinion, it’s a fact borne out again and again by research. It only reinforces the idea that it’s alright for someone in a position of power and authority to use violence against another person as a way to control them.
  3. That lesson plays out at home and in other relationships outside of school. Boys watch the girls being hit by respected authority figures when they “misbehave” and that image goes in deep. Might those boys use the same approach with their girlfriends/wives/daughters/sons later when they behave in a way that doesn’t please them?
  4. When a female student must submit to being spanked by a man in a position of authority, there are sexual overtones. I mean are you kidding me? These parents are going to allow their teenaged daughters to go into a room with a man and let him spank her? And with the blessing of the School Board, too?
  5. Whether the spanker is male or female, this is not a fair or appropriate punishment for boys or girls. Violence breeds violence and it is never appropriate for an adult to hit/beat/spank a child. Period.

And by the way, why is this alright for an adolescent but not an adult? If a grown woman is issued a speeding ticket, would it be okay for her to decide between paying the ticket and being hit by a man?

Let us know how you feel about this very important subject and what your thoughts are on how we can change this horrible practice. Our kids are counting on us to stop the abuse. And yes, this is abuse.



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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.

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