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A new state law meant to give parents the right to spank their kids has some school districts confused about their rights. Some school officials say the wording of the law makes it seem that corporal punishment is no longer allowed in schools.
Mumford Superintendent ISD Pete Bienski believes every school should have the option to use corporal punishment or paddling as a form of discipline for a child. His district does and Bienski says he has the support of the parents.
" We feel like we do have the cooperation of parents. In fact it's not unusual for parents to tell me to use corporal punishment on their child," said Bienski.
But some schools have done away with the practice of paddling due to a new law on spanking. The law states that a parent or guardian has the legal right to use corporal punishment to discipline their child.
State Representative Harold Dutton of Houston wrote the law and says it was never meant to be applied to schools. But some school officials say the wording of the law makes it illegal for them to paddle students.
Huntsville's school board decided to remove corporal punishment from the district's code of conduct because of the law and say it was never used that much anyway.
Bienski also says paddling is rarely used in his schools. He says it's used more like a last resort in a long list of options for disciplinary actions.
" You have to consider the seriousness of the offense. You have to consider the children's age, the grade level, the frequency of misconduct, the students attitude," said Bienski.
Other districts in the Brazos Valley who will continue to use corporal punishment are Madisonville, Somerville, Calvert, Caldwell and Brenham.
TEA has requested a ruling from the Texas Attorney General's office on what the spanking law actually does. The opinion is expected sometime in September.