Good news, everyone — gender equality is coming to one Texas school district.
According to state law, schools can use corporal punishment unless a parent or guardian forbids it in writing. (Saying, "Hey, please don't smack my kid's ass" verbally is apparently not sufficient.) There are no statewide standards on gender, so it's up to schools to decide if opposite-sex spanking is kosher.
And at Springtown High School, it's now A-OK, even though some parents continue to see it as a problem. Cathi Watt, whose 16-year-old daughter Jada was one of the girls spanked, doesn't agree with the policy change.
What kind of message does it send these boys? Is it telling them that it's OK to hit a girl?
She maintains that her daughter deserved to get paddled, but that it shouldn't have been hard enough to leave a bruise. (That's just good parenting.) Watt believes kids "need it once in a while, and I got it when I was a kid."
Gender restrictions aside, 75 percent of Texas schools allow corporal punishment. Springtown High's new rules include a maximum one swat and written permission from a parent. Parents can also request one spanking per semester. That is seriously a thing they can do.
Jimmy Dunne, president of the aptly named People Opposed to Paddling Students, doesn't think gender should be an issue. Bizarrely enough, he believes all corporal punishment is wrong.
It is never OK to hit a child. ... Men should not be padding teenage girls, because there is a sexual connotation with teen girls but also with teen boys.
Meanwhile, Texas State Rep. Alma Allen agrees that there shouldn't be corporal punishment in schools — she pushed a bill outlawing the practice — but she says it's up to parents to decide what to do in the privacy of their homes.
"[School] should be a place to be motivated," Allen says, "not a place to be beaten." Home, on the other hand, can be both.