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Spanking in schools sparks debate

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At the Springtown school board meeting outside of Fort Worth, parent Anna Jorgenson addresses the board about her teenage daughter's spanking.

"I think any of ya'll that have daughters or sons and your kid came home with welts and bruises you would be very upset," she said.

Jorgenson signed off on the paddling as a form of punishment after her daughter was accused of cheating, but she was upset that it was a male administrator that did the spanking. That's also what happened to another teenage girl at the school.

"If I put a mark on her and send her to school CPS is gonna knock on my door. No authority, No school official should be able to bruise my child," said parent Cathi Watt.

It's the injuries from corporal punishment that a mom at a district outside Houston also has a problem with after she says her 7th grade son was hit too hard by an administrator.

"This issue here is not corporal punishment, it's the force used on my child, this was assault," said Christina Douty.

"Any time a child is being disciplined physically with an instrument, whether it's a paddle or a belt or any other instrument, your risk of injuries is significantly higher," said Amanda Van Hoozer with the Center for Child Protection in Austin.

She says in some cases those injuries can end up being more than just physical.

"It really does depend on the circumstance and it depends on the child. But you can have a child who can be very affected by the trauma of being struck."

She adds that parents and administrators need to stop and ask themselves some serious questions before resorting to corporal punishment.

"Is hitting them going to change that behavior and are you going to get the results you want? And in many times the answer to that is, no."

Despite those parent's complaints in Springtown, the school board has expanded their policy to allow for administrators of the opposite sex to do the spanking. Corporal punishment is used by several districts in the Central Texas area including Blanco ISD and Temple ISD. Parents have to give the district permission to use the form of punishment.

During the last legislative session State Rep Alma Allen (D) from Houston tried to push a bill to abolish corporal punishment, but it was not passed.

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