Corporal punishment in local schools

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PARIS, TX & BONHAM, TX -- It is not something you hear much about these days, but after some Texas students recently suffered bruises after being paddled by principals the practice is being hit with criticism.

Texas and Oklahoma are two of only 19 states that allows corporal punishment in schools and statistics show more than 200,000 students are spanked in the U.S each year, and as we have found out Texoma children contribute to that number.

Several schools in Texoma still use the paddle for bad behavior and it was a paddling at a local school that Mary Bostic says sent her friend's child to the ER.

"The licks were so hard that the child had to be taken to the emergency room to have his underwear soaked off of him," Bostic said.

Many area parents we spoke with say they are okay with paddling as long as its effective and does not harm their children.

"I don't want them misbehaving so I strongly believe if they need it at school then I'm all for it," Shelly Daigle said.

"A lot of it depends on the kids you know. We have one it doesn't work for," Lauren Woodard said.

Some Texoma schools like Bonham ISD choose not to use corporal punishment, but Superintendent Dr. Beaty says that does not mean it is a bad form of punishment. He says research he has done has shown its effectiveness.

"Grades went up on a scale of negative to positive one. We had a rough correlation of .08 which is a very strong correlation and it was even stronger for behavior," Dr. Beaty said.

Paris ISD allows paddling and Superintendent Mark Hudson says it has corrected bad behavior. He says students K through 12 can get a paddling, which under policy has to be given by a professional employee with another staff member as a witness in the room.

"Corporal punishment is not the first option. In other words its not the corner stone of our discipline plan," Hudson said.

Hudson says parents can write a note if they do not want their child "swatted".

Some Parents who disagree with the spanking say they fear their child will be hit too hard, and that is a reason Dr. Beaty says many schools do not use corporal punishment.

"Truly you can lose your career and a lot of money with one swing of a paddle," Dr. Beaty said.

Hudson says employees at PISD who administer "swats" are trained and says corporal punishment is supported by the community as a whole.

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