East Texans split over corporal punishment

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Courtney Lane - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Should corporal punishment be revived in schools? That is one man's mission at Dallas ISD, and it has a lot of folks in East Texas talking, too. You see, Dallas ISD did away with corporal punishment five years ago. Some say the rate of in school suspension has doubled since then. Now, there is a new movement to bring paddling back.

Leal Gilbert is taking a swing at reviving corporal punishment at Dallas ISD. He created BringBackLicks.com after seeing its success at Temple ISD.

"It was fascinating because the cases of disruption just plummeted and ironically they only gave out a few licks, so it's just the psychology, the looming threat," explained Gilbert.

"I think there should be more of it," said Rusk mother Heather Carpenter. "Kids have an easy road and they need to be spanked, be punished in school, out of school and take responsibility for their actions."

But there are plenty of others who want it left out of schools.

"Doesn't work, paddling," explained Lashonda Johnson, another Rusk mom.  "I feel like the parents should discipline their children at home because if they accidentally bruise them or something then parents are going to be upset."

Most districts in East Texas, like Longview and Tyler, have corporal punishment but it is up to parents to decide. Tyler ISD says it is rarely used anymore because of alternative methods.

"Detention that might be served or Saturday school that might be served, so there's different consequences related to the child's age," said TISD Communications Director Angela Jenkins.

Bill Martin with Sylvan Learning Center is split on this issue.

"Corporal punishment, it kept me from behaving badly from time to time but then, as a became older...as I understood psychology and behavior, I understand that the best long term solution is a positive and negative reinforcement schedule," said Martin.

At Sylvan, kids are rewarded for improvement and given nothing if they back-track. Martin believes this is more effective but takes time and patience. He says the biggest problem, is at home where there is a growing lack of discipline.

"The school is there to educate the child," said Martin. "But what's happened is that the schools have become caregivers; they've become daycare workers."

In the meantime, the debate on how to discipline kids continues.

Copyright 2010 KLTV. All rights reserved.