Proposed end to corporal punishment in Texas

Last August I noted in this column the Dallas Morning News story about Everman, Texas, where the local school district not only allows paddling — corporal punishment — but appears to endorse it as a key part of education.

Now comes a new legislature, and Texas State Rep. Alma Allen has filed a bill to ban corporal punishment, H. B. 379. To assuage those who argue that corporal punishment is necessary to maintain classroom discipline, the bill authorizes teachers and other school employees to use physical restraint to protect students from injury, and to get contraband.

Of course, this is the similar to the bill Dr. Allen introduced in the last session. It went nowhere, and without a dramatic change in tone in the state, this bill is likely to die in committee, too. But watch that space anyway.

Allen is a life-long educator representing District 131 in Houston. She holds an M.Ed from Texas Southern, and a D.Ed. from Houston. She retired as an administrator in the Houston Independent School District.

The full text of the bill is below the fold.

80R794 SLO-D
  By: Allen  
  H.B. No. 379
  relating to corporal punishment in public schools.
  SECTION 1. Chapter 37, Education Code, is amended by adding
  Subchapter Z to read as follows:
  Sec. 37.901. CORPORAL PUNISHMENT. (a) In this section,
  “corporal punishment” includes hitting, spanking, paddling, or
  deliberately inflicting physical pain by any means on the whole or
  any part of a student’s body as a penalty or punishment for the
  student’s behavior on or off campus.
  (b) A school district employee or a volunteer or independent
  contractor of a district may not administer corporal punishment or
  cause corporal punishment to be administered to a student.
  (c) A school district employee or a volunteer or independent
  contractor of a district may use reasonable and necessary physical
  restraining techniques for the purpose of:
  (1) preventing a student from injuring a person or
  (2) self-defense; or
  (3) obtaining from a student possession of an object
  specified by Section 37.007(a)(1) or another dangerous object.
  (d) Section 9.62, Penal Code, and Section 22.0511(a) do not
  apply to an action of a school district employee or a volunteer or
  independent contractor of a district that violates Subsection (b).
  SECTION 2. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2007

Tip of the old scrub brush to TexasEd.

23 Responses to Proposed end to corporal punishment in Texas

  1. m.a. in dallas says:

    What discipline is appropriate in our DISD schools? The reason I ask is because during one of my visits to my childs’ school I heard the gym teacher yelling at a child ( not mine). She then proceeded to make him put his hands on his head, had him walk with her down a long hallway to the cafeteria where she filled up on ice or water (as soon as she saw me she changed the tone in which she was speaking to the child), she paused to speak to a teacher while the child still had his hands on his head. I was walking away and realized that I couldn’t go without having her know I noticed her behavior. I asked her how long the child was supposed to keep his hands on his head, she responded ” Until we get back to the gym. He wasn’t doing his exercises.” How long will that take if she takes her time to speak to other teachers, and is this common punishment, because the other teacher didn’t seem surprised. I wouldn’t like my child to be yelled at or disciplined in that way, so I couldn’t walk away pretending not to see anything. I said to her “My child has expressed that you yell at the students, but I never realized that you did in this way, I need to talk to someone about this.” Should I bring this up to her superiors, or am I exaggerating. How many prents would like their children to experience something of the sort. Please give me your opinion! I would love for all DISD parents to join and help insure our children are getting a great education, without intimidation!


  2. Jack says:

    Again, something I said on another topic about this. To me corporal punishment is a reactionary extremity imposed by people too afraid to break traditional means. Part of it is Southern Culture, people down there don’t like change, that’s what conservative means. People in The North don’t get that. Texas is probably the last state that will be even remotely interested in ending corporal punishment because they love tradition. Their view is “I got paddled, so my son should get paddled, and his son should get paddled.” Not that I have anything personal against Texas, at all. I’m just giving people a little reality check about Southern Culture. If you don’t want your kid to be in such a school system, you are better off just moving, don’t waste your time.


  3. boris says:

    i tink so too.i hold it must bee dun. especialy big boys and girls you know teenagers.they tink they know everything and cud do whatever they want.yesterday my nefyou was over first he opened his mouth to me . i didnt say nothing but when he was nasty to my wife i went looking for something i could use on his rear end.i found a wood 2 by 4.then i told him im going to disiplin him .now pull your pants all the way down and get your toosh over my did take some time and it was a chalenge but 20 min. later i had his naked buttokes bent well over my desk.i told him hes getting 10 but if fussing around it will be 20well fussing is not the word by 15 he was crying like ababy and promised to behave now beleave me he will tink twice or triple next time and it wil definitly change his attitude


  4. michael says:

    i was spanked by parents pants down, i was a shy boy skinny embassased , and i was aware of my nakedness. it did work for a while tho, untill i forgot how to be good, at 14 i tried harder didnot want my privates on show at that age


  5. william says:

    Maybe your TUSH can take swats anytime,but some children and especially teenagers are very sensitive.i think that taking down the pants everytime you get spanked might be a little too harsh,it should be left for serious offences


  6. chris says:

    I was spanked at home and in school and i think it definatly made me a better person.i think generaly it should be done and it has to be done like frank pointed out medication but not all people respond to the same medic. equally and after seeing it not being effective and alternative should be found,but i dont understand whats the big deal. everybody at every age can take a good few swats on the tush for discipline


  7. mpb says:

    Freckles, you know your stuff (and i like the avatar, too) Thanks.


  8. The teachers I have that are the best don’t even yell. They get you interested so you don’t need to talk to your friends. And then if someone does something wrong, the teacher’s stare can get them to stop. Or the teacher stares and everyone else pokes the kid. And if it is still a problem you have to come for detention. If a teacher thinks they need to hit kids maybe what they really need is to be a better teacher. Or stay away from kids.


  9. Ed Darrell says:

    You call it “disciplining out of love.” The medical term is “beating.” The legal term is “assault and battery,” and we need special laws to make sure there is adequate consent before the assault occurs, if it is to be legally excused.
    If parents resort to spanking, discipline is lost. There are more powerful means of discipline — including, especially, unconditional love — that are much more effective in the long run, and proven superior in every trial.
    Why not give kids the best? Spanking is the bottom of the list of “parenting discipline techniques,” and not even on the list of “good parenting discipline techniques.”
    Spanking is the easy way, the lazy way, the destructive way. If one wishes to be lazy and destructive, by all means paddle the kids. But please understand what it is that they learn: Striking people is acceptable.
    Was that what you intend to teach?


  10. frank says:

    You people are speaking about abuse and brutality.Im talking about disciplining out of love because you care about them and you want to bring out the best of them. Frecklescasie had a problem in the home,it doesnt sound like spanking was the problem,maybe the parents needed a good spanking to teach them how to discipline. when parents whack the bottoms the echos should send chills down the spine feeling bad for them being spanked but doing the right thing for them.Dont abuse dont brutalize only SPANK. If stinging lasts more than the next day then its too harsh


  11. I was abused at home. And it didn’t make me respect my parents. It just made me scared. But I loved school. I still do. I love learning and clubs and sports and even classes.

    If they hit at school like my parents did at home I think I would have just hated all of life. I think I wouldn’t be a good student.

    When I went to live in a non-violent house my behavior got better at school.


  12. Ed Darrell says:

    Repeated studies show that hardened criminals — murderers, armed robbers, wife beaters, child abusers, etc., etc., were spanked more than the public at large, and especially more than high achievers who do not commit crimes.

    Spanking is a sign of discipline failure. It’s a self-selection sample error to claim that those who practice it say it’s effective. What do the studies show?

    What’s the difference between spanking with a stick “about 2 or 3 ft. long” and child beating? I can’t think of any.


  13. frank again says:

    Sorry Page Ended Then take a paddle thin but wide and about 2 or 3 ft. long and WHACK! No more than five. I would like response from parents and teachers after theyve tried it and tell me how often its still needed


  14. frank says:

    Dear Ed And Other Readers, “spare the rod/spoil the child”.Disciplining children at home and in school is important at all ages.As I mentioned before, if you look at the websites you,le see all schools and all parents that spank say its effective. Those That disagree are the ones that never tried it.It was always done previously.Look whats happening to the many criminals. I personaly think spanking is like medicine to the body.medicine tells the disease no no I will not let you take over i will stop it.children and especially teenagers become influenced by what they see and have to be controlled and as soon they misbehave they should be spanked. If you really love your children they will understand its for their benefit.As soon they misbehave they should be taken to the nearest table and be told to bend over all way then push them up slightly so feet should be off the floor so that they dont get up before finished and secondly:when feet dangle it stretches the buttocks tendarising it for a good spank


  15. Ed Darrell says:


    I think you may be a walking poster for why corporal punishment is a bad idea.

    Kids copy what they see. Smacking a kid for doing something you think is wrong teaches the kid it’s okay to smack people.

    I’m opposed to all forms of totalitarianism, myself.


  16. frank says:

    I Think Its A Great Idea.look At All The Websites That Have Corp. Punish. They Say Children Are Much Better Behaved. Try To Picture It For Yourself, You Want To Do Something Bad But As Soon Yo,re Caught! Swoosh! Pants And Underpants Down Now Bend Over All The Way So Buttocks Are Protruding And 6 Applications With A Paddle!! Wouldnt You Think 5 Times Maybe Not!!!


  17. can i write to you at an email address and not on the thread? or use IM maybe. you can email me at


  18. Ed Darrell says:

    Is that question directed at me?

    Yes, I am a teacher. I also try to push policy. Corporal punishment is an issue in education, as demonstrated by the introduction of that bill in this legislature (and the last one), and as demonstrated by the article in the Dallas Morning News. School discipline is a constant issue in education circles, unfortunately.

    Clearly, Cassie, you are opposed to corporal punishment. Would you care to make a case against it?


  19. are you a teacher? why do you write about paddling and spanking?



  20. Ed Darrell says:

    This proposal is likely to die in the current legislature, absent a miraculous groundswell of support. As a pragmatic matter, most school districts in Texas do not avail themselves of the legal privilege of using corporal punishment, and those districts who do use it, like it. Check the tag for “Corporal punishment” to find an earlier post at this blog, which links to an article from the Dallas Morning News on a district that uses it, and is happy with the results.


  21. NO! I don’t think it is needed. It would have completely turned me off to school.


  22. cam says:

    do u think there should corporal punidshment and y or y not


  23. I am REALLY glad that they don’t have corporal punishment at the schools I have gone to. I had parents that hit a lot, and one of the best things about school is that nobody ever hit me in school.



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