Guest Blog: Lufkin ISD Reacts to Paddling Incident at Brookhollow Elementary

Lufkin ISD reacts to paddling incident at Brookhollow Elementary
By Morgan Thomas
KTRE, April 5, 2011

 (KTRE) – Last week, a Brookhollow Elementary mom reported that she was furious since her son had been spanked twice by the principal. She says the school did not have her consent to use corporal punishment on the fifth grader. In response, LISD’s Superintendent Roy Knight is not making any apologies.

“We don’t paddle often. We don’t do it light-heartedly,” said Knight.

That’s LISD’s position on corporal punishment in schools. Knight says there is a place for paddling.

“It can be a real effective method but it’s not for all kids and we don’t do it without permission from a guardian,” said Knight.

Last week, Valerie Lockhart reported her fifth grade son had been paddled twice over a forgotten book. Even though the mom checked “no” on the corporal punishment consent form.

“I asked who paddled my son? I asked three times. The third time the principal came from the back and said I did,” said Lockhart.

Knight says the law prevents him from commenting on specific cases of discipline.

“What I can tell you is we have never, ever in this district paddled a child for failure to turn in a library book,” said Knight.

In response to the corporal punishment consent form, Knight was not specific.

“In some cases, we have conflicting permission on paddling children,” said Knight.

For example, LISD has one form for in-school punishment, and another for after-school activities.

Knight emphasized that spanking is a state approved – board approved method of punishment. And there’s no plan to change the policy. Opponents of corporal punishment are flooding knight’s mail with complaints and pictures of alleged abuse.

“The folks who jump on the child abuse wagon and begin to show pictures of naked behinds causes me to wonder if they just don’t enjoy seeing pictures of naked behinds because I’m getting a lot of those right now,” said Knight.

For now, spanking will remain in public schools. Knight reassures parents, it’s always a last resort.

Texas is one of only 20 states that still allows corporal punishment in public schools. That could change, however, if state law makers pass a house bill than would ban paddling in Texas school districts.

Update: New Mexico Gov. signed bill April 6th banning corporal punishment.