Ban Corporal Punishment Texas
An open letter to members of the Texas Legislature
Sponsored by PTAVE

Dear Texas Legislator:

For allegedly disciplinary reasons, a school coach forced a 10-year-old schoolboy to submit to being struck repeatedly in the pelvic area with a flat stick. When the child returned home after school, his mother was stunned by his condition. "You could see blood through his underwear, " she said. The child's pediatrician confirmed that the contusions he had sustained were "consistent with traumatic injury." But when the mother complained to authorities, she was told a different story. This is what they said:

"Corporal punishment is allowed. If it is done in a measured, nonviolent way, it's not considered abuse."
This incident is not something out of the distant past or from some remote, backward region of the globe. This child was beaten on August 21, 2003 in a public school in Groveton, Texas. Interested readers can see selected media coverage of the incident, including a photograph of the child's injuries, at

Were any adult struck with the same amount of force by another adult, except for reasons of self defense, the perpetrator would surely face arrest, a felony charge and jail time if convicted. But a very different standard applies to Texas schoolchildren. Bruises and bleeding, not to mention psychological trauma which is an inevitable byproduct of such an assault, are not considered abusive by the Texas Department of Education.

Anyone who is tempted to dismiss this incident as a rare event should be reminded that according to the most recent statistics published by the Office of Civil Rights, 50,489 students, including some with disabilities, were paddled in 2004. Since those stats are self-reported, they are most likely underreported. Injuries to paddled children are all too common, but because children tend to be secretive about that area of their anatomy, most escape attention. But not all injuries go unreported. Typical examples of schoolchildren's punishment-related injuries can be viewed online at and The parents of those injured children have allowed the images of their children's injuries to be made available for the public record

On January 22, 1871, a New York Times editorial stated:

"... It is exceedingly unsafe to leave too wide a discretion in their hands. The nature even of instructors of youth is fallible, and there is a kind of intoxication in the exercise of unlimited power, though it be only over little boys and girls, that may wisely be checked and controlled."

Today, 136 years later, we believe it's due time Texas heeded that wise editor's warning. The scholarship of the past half century and the good example of well-run education systems in the 29 paddle-free states prove conclusively that corporal punishment is counterproductive, fraught with risks and has no place in any school system in the civilized world.

A full discussion of what's wrong with corporal punishment isn't within the scope of this letter, nor should it be necessary. That information is abundantly available, and any literate person with access to a computer can become an expert on the subject in two or three evenings. Only among the uninformed, the misguided and the willfully cruel are arguments favoring corporal punishment taken seriously. There is not one teachers' college in Texas that teaches undergraduates the correct method for hitting children, and every reader of this letter knows why.

Surely, the great majority of teachers in Texas, having been trained as professionals, are eager and prepared to perform as professionals. They know that beating and bruising children's buttocks does not fit their job description.

THEREFORE, we, the undersigned, urge the immediate banning of corporal punishment in all schools of Texas.


Instructions to Texas residents who wish to sign this letter: We need your full name and city of residence. If you would like us to include some personal/professional details, e.g., that you are a: parent, grandparent, teacher, social worker, nurse, psychologist, physician, or other), supply us that information and we'll include it.

You can e-mail the information to Diana Whitaker at or Jimmy Dunne at or Jordan Riak at We'll add your name promptly.

Diana Whitaker, Parent, children's rights activist, Odessa, TX
Lynn Causby, Parent of Justin Causby, who was injured by paddling, children's rights activist, Trinity, TX
Louis C. Downey, Grandfather of Justin Causby, who was injured by paddling, Trinity, TX
Jimmy Dunne, Founder and President of People Opposed to Paddling Students (POPS), parent, retired teacher, Houston, TX
Jamey Whitaker, Parent, Master Electrician, Business Owner, Odessa, TX
Ronnie Whitaker, Electrician, Voter Odessa, TX
Kristen Segler, Student, Voter, Odessa, TX
Christopher Whitaker, Student, Future Voter, Odessa, TX
Jamie Whitaker, Student, Children's Rights Activist, Future Voter, Odessa, TX
Cody Whitaker, Student, Future Voter, Odessa, TX
Courtney Whitaker, Student, Future Voter, Odessa, TX
Casey Whitaker, Student, Future Voter, Odessa, TX
Bill McKelvie, Parent, Grandparent, Newcastle, TX
Brandy Yell, Parent, Children's Rights Activist, NCRMA/Surgery Tech, Odessa, TX
Mark Yell, Parent, Odessa, TX
Kelby Young, Student, Future Voter, Odessa, TX
Blake Smith, Student, Future Voter, Odessa, TX
Vickie Ramsay, Parent, Grandparent, Children's Rights Activist, Odessa, TX
Jerry Young, Parent, Odessa, TX
Mavanee Young, Parent, Grandparent, Odessa, TX
Dick Young, Parent, Grandparent, Odessa, TX
Christin Wuensche, Parent, Bryan, TX
Clayton Wuensche, Parent, Bryan, TX
Patrick Wuensche, Student, Future Voter, Bryan, TX
Don King, Parent, Odessa, TX
Denise King, Parent, Odessa, TX
Micaela Grenier, Student, Future Voter, Odessa, TX
Amanda Cobb, Magnolia, TX
Michael A. Causby, Trinity, TX
Carol J. Miller, Trinity, TX
Clarence Russeau, Parent, Student, and Activist, Alpine, TX
Mary Schwartze, Parent, Alpine, TX
Julianne Knight, Parent, Odessa, TX
Monica Robinson, Parent, San Angelo, TX
Mavie Woods, Parent, Odessa, TX
Terry Woods, Parent, Odessa, TX
Cheryl Frances, Parent, Grandparent, Educator, Activist, Alpine, TX
Allyson Christina Carpenter, Student, Harker Heights, TX
Carlo Munguia, Parent, Voter, Human Rights Activist, San Antonio, TX
Carrie Munguia, Parent, Voter, Human Rights Activist, San Antonio TX
Christy O'Keeffe, Parent, Richardson, TX
Joe Waters, Temple, TX
Vicky Waters, Temple, TX

NOTE: New signatories are added to the bottom of the list. If you've submitted your name, but don't see it here within three days, please resubmit. We do our best to be prompt and accurate. However, given the high volume of e-mail we receive daily, sometimes we slip up.

Grow this list for kids' sake. Tell a friend!

Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE)
P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, CA 94507 US
Tel: 925-831-1661; FAX: 925-838-8914
On the Web at

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