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School CP - December 1987

Corpun file 26321 at

The Bulletin, Bend, Oregon, 11 December 1987, p.A10

All paddles created equal

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ANDREWS, Texas (UPI) -- A west Texas school district, in a move to make all whippings equal, has decided that paddles used to administer corporal punishment in schools should be of uniform size, a school official said.

"What we're doing is standardizing the paddles throughout the district rather than (having) the teachers and principals using their own," James Pennington, Andrews school superintendent, said Thursday.

The new paddles will be manufactured in school shops.

The use of paddles is left to the discretion of a teacher. Another teacher or administrator must witness the corporal punishment.

Pauline McDonald, who works in the superintendent's office, said two paddle types, based on the recommendations of principals, will be used.

Paddle A, for use in elementary schools, will be made of plexiglass and measure 3/16 of an inch thick by 4 inches wide by 18 inches long. Paddle B, for use in secondary schools, will be made of maple and measure a half-inch by 3-1/3 inches by 22 inches.

Corpun file 7267 at

Lexington Herald-Leader, Kentucky, 31 December 1987


No consistency on paddling

Where does the state of Kentucky really stand on the matter of corporal punishment of children? It's a question worth pondering, since the state appears to be all over the map on the issue.

The Pentecostal Children's Home of Barbourville believes in paddling. The state does not, at least where licensed "child-caring facilities" are concerned.

It ordered the home to stop paddling children. When the home refused, the state revoked its operating license. The home is suing, claiming that paddling is part of a religious belief with which the state is interfering.

The state has a worthy argument: It can't supervise every paddling to assure that things don't get out of hand, that the person doing the paddling is keeping a cool head and a reserved swing on the paddle, and that the child being disciplined isn't injured in the process. Thus, it makes sense to ban paddling altogether.

Unfortunately, the state is not consistent in its restrictions on corporal punishment. If that worthy argument applies to licensed childcare facilities, why doesn't it apply to public schools?

Teachers in public schools get to break out the paddle at will. And if they happen to get a little rough and bruise the child they discipline, the state stands ready to do nothing to defend that child. If a private children's home went overboard with physical discipline, the state would be ripe with indignation.

But if anybody should be physically disciplining a child, it should be the parents, right? Well, not necessarily, according to the state. When parents bruise children in the act of disciplining them, the state stands ready to be the children's advocate and provide them safety.

We've said before that corporal punishment in the schools is a bad idea. It imparts the idea that use of physical force by a superior is an acceptable method of ending disputes.

Corporal punishment may be acceptable to many parents, and those parents should have every right to use it in their homes. But there's no feasible way for the state to regulate how corporal punishment is used or abused in the schools. That's one reason that children's advocates throughout the state are calling for paddling and spanking to be outlawed in the public schools.

Until that happens, how seriously can the state expect to be taken when it lifts the license of organizations like the Pentecostal Children's Home? The answer is: not very.

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