The board of trustees for a south Texas school district voted unanimously on Tuesday in favor of reintroducing paddling as an appropriate disciplinary method in elementary schools.
Under the new rules, students will receive one paddling for minor infractions such as disrupting the classroom or disobeying class rules set by the teacher.
“If the parent is not comfortable with it, that’s the end of the discussion,” Three Rivers ISD Superintendent Mary Springs said, as cited by Corpus Christi Caller Times.
“We will look at how many discipline referrals were made compared to last year and how many times (corporal punishment) was administered,” she added.
The Three Rivers Independent School District in south Texas and 26 other school districts now permit the use of corporal punishment, with the new policy expected to take effect at the start of the school year.
Texas is one of 19 states that allow the use of corporal punishment in the classroom.
In 2016, the Obama administration called for an end to corporal punishment in schools.
All school districts that allow corporal punishment in Texas are required to inform parents and receive consent. Parents will have to submit a permission slip which affords the school principal or “campus behavior coordinator” the ability to physically discipline unruly students.
The Trustees and the Texas Education Agency say they have no evidence that physical discipline is effective at correcting misbehavior.
Corporal punishment is defined as the deliberate infliction of physical pain by hitting, paddling, spanking, slapping, or any other physical force used as a means of discipline.
“I believe it worked,” Three Rivers Elementary School’s campus behavior coordinator, Andrew Amaro told the Caller Times of his own experiences in school with corporal punishment.
“It was an immediate response for me. I knew that if I got in trouble with a teacher and I was disrespectful, whatever the infraction was, I knew I was going to get a swat by the principal.”
“If it reduces the number of discipline referrals, then that’s a good thing,” Springs added.