While swatting is not permitted in the majority of school districts in El Paso, it is so common throughout Texas that one state legislator has filed a bill that would ban corporal punishment in every Texas school.
In filing the bill, state Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston, has reopened the ongoing national debate on whether swatting students and children should be used anywhere:
In California, a state legislator is trying to get a law passed that prohibits anyone from spanking -- even with their bare hand -- any child younger than 4 years old.
A national organization, The Center for Effective Discipline, is trying to ban swatting in every state. Currently, 21 states allow it in their public schools.
"And spanking is used mostly on poor children, minorities and students with disabilities," said Allen, who could not pass the same bill in 2005. "The schools need to be a positive place where students can learn. Not somewhere where students can be hit."
The bill is needed in Texas, she said, because only 50 of the 1,033 school
districts in Texas have banned the use of a swat. And, she said, more than 70,000 students get swatted each year, according to U.S. Department of Education statistics.
In El Paso, six of the nine districts have banned corporal punishment. Only Tornillo, Fabens an Clint districts allow it.
State Rep. Chente Quintanilla, D-El Paso, said swatting students is not as evil as some people think and it is a tool that should not be taken away from educators.
"I am old school," said Quintanilla, a lifelong educator. "If you spare the rod, you spoil the child. If done properly, it is an effective tool."
The Tornillo Independent School District, by a vote of the school board, recently reinstated the use of corporal punishment.
Ramon Bracamontes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6142.
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