While most public school districts in the U.S. have done away with corporal punishment, Texas ranks second to Mississippi in paddlings, according to a report from Education Week.
The data from school year 2015-2016 shows a drop of eight percent from the previous year, but the same number of schools — about 4,000 — continue to keep spanking on the disciplinary menu.
The district with the most incidents in Texas is an elementary school in City View ISD in Wichita Falls, followed by the high school in Floydada ISD in West Texas, enrollment: 760.
Most of the schools with spanking are in smaller districts in rural areas. Although, one school in Dallas — the AW Brown Leadership Academies Charter School, intermediate campus in South Dallas — is on the list.
Several other Dallas charters, including both Nova Academies’ campuses, made the list as well. Districts located around Beaumont and Waco both had schools listed as using paddling in 2015-2016.
From the report:
“The number of students receiving physical discipline in school dropped from 1 out of every 125 students in 2000 to 1 out of every 500 students in 2015-16.” “That steady long-term decline seems to be losing steam, however. From 2013-14 to 2015-16, the number of students without disabilities receiving corporal punishment dropped by 11 percent, compared to drops of between 17 percent to 36 percent every other year. (The 8 percent decline cited above includes students in special education.) And in more than 40 percent of schools that used physical punishment, at least some students were paddled or spanked more than once.”
As recently as 2016, 21 states still allowed spanking as a punishment, although the new data indicates a higher percentage of charter schools in Texas are employing the practice, at least in more urban areas.
In 2011, Texas lawmakers passed a measure authorizing public school educators to use corporal punishment “unless the student’s parent or guardian…has previously provided a written, signed statement prohibiting the use of corporal punishment as a method of student discipline.”
According to an academic report from the University of Texas, the U.S. is one of two westernized countries that allow paddling.
The debate to allow the practice is an old one, and when lawmakers in New Jersey tried to pass a measure allowing it, the bill was defeated by a margin of 4-1 in 1894. The state has the longest prohibition on spanking in the U.S, dating back to 1867.
State Rep. Alma Allen, (D-Houston) introduced a measure in 2015 that would ban paddling in Texas. The bill died in committee.
Steve Miller can be reached at [email protected].