Stephanie Pappas
Live Science
September 27, 2012

Taylor Santos, 15, was swatted by her male vice principal for
allegedly letting a classmate copy her homework.

In a seemingly counterintuitive move, a Texas school district has changed its policies to allow opposite-gender faculty to paddle students after a controversy regarding two high-school girls being paddled by a male vice principal.

As the district loosens its corporal punishment rules, researchers and child-development experts have turned against physical discipline of children, linking it to increased aggression, anxiety and depression in kids. Physical discipline in adolescents may be particularly harmful.

“People quite often see that it stops the [bad] behavior today or it stops the behavior this week,” said Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, a professor of social work at the University of Michigan who has studied physical punishment internationally. “I think we’re just less able to see that it’s a really powerful negative shaper of behavior over time.”

[…] On Monday night (Sept. 24), the school district responded to the controversy by altering their policy to allow opposite-sex faculty to spank students. Texas is one of the 19 states where school corporal punishment is still legal, according to the nonprofit Center for Effective Discipline. In 2005-2006, the most recent school year data is available, about 1 percent of Texas students were physically punished, according to the Center’s data. That year, Mississippi schools engaged in the most corporal punishment compared with the other 18 states, with 7.5 percent of students getting paddled.

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