A central Texas school district unanimously voted last May to let teachers paddle misbehaving students. Parents and teachers alike hail the new policy as a total success, saying that behavioral problems have plummeted ever since kids started realizing that they might get walloped for acting up.
Temple, Texas, is a rail town of 60,000, and the new policy -- which applies to all 14 schools in town -- is well-liked by residents who say kids behave better when they have the fear of a spanking to keep them in line.
While many states have banned corporal punishment over the years, Texas never got around to it. Of the 225,000 children who received corporal punishment in 2006, 25 percent hailed from the Lone Star state.
In the months since the school instituted the policy, only one student has been paddled -- at the request of his parents. Parents and school officials say that the problems in Temple -- talking in class, showing up late and throwing spitballs -- are typical, and paddling is just the way to solve them.
"Back [in the day], you wouldn't throw spitballs, because you were afraid of the consequences," Darr Kuykendall, a plumbing-supply worker, said about the good old days when corporal punishment was the norm.
I find it deeply disturbing that, in a country where corporal punishment is banned in prisons, it's still being used against kids who talk in class. Children act out, and they need to be disciplined. But beating them only teaches them that violence is the way to keep people in line. Study after study shows that kids who get spanked are more aggressive.
Hitting kids -- especially for minor infractions like being late to class -- seems totally backwards and outdated. There are many effective ways to teach children consequences -- none of which involve violence.