Teachers at Three Rivers Independent School District in South Texas will soon be allowed to hit students with paddles as a measure of punishment. According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times,
the district's trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to allow corporal punishment in the classroom.
Parents will have to turn in a permission slip before the start of the school year to allow the school's principal or "campus behavior coordinator" to hit their child. Students will be paddled for even minor infractions like not following rules in the classroom, according to Kens5
Texas is one of 19 states that allow the use of corporal punishment in classrooms. In 2016, the Obama administration urged states to end the use of physical punishment in schools due to the harmful effects that it can have on students. Then-Department of Education Secretary John B. King Jr. cited evidence that children who are subject to corporal punishment are more likely to have aggressive and defiant behavior in the short term and are more at risk of mental health issues later on in life.
In Texas, all districts that allow physical punishment are mandated to inform parents and receive consent. But the districts are not required to inform the Texas Education Agency of each case of corporal punishment. The trustees and the TEA say they do not have any evidence that physically punishing students is effective for deterring behavioral issues. Mary Springs, Three Rivers ISD superintendent, told the Caller
that the schools in her district who implement corporal punishment will begin keeping records of the cases in order to determine the effect it has on classrooms.
Three Rivers ISD joins 26 other independent school districts that allow corporal punishment in Region 2, the southern part of Texas. The new policy is expected to start in the upcoming school year.