Published September 25, 2012
A Texas school district has decided to change its corporal punishment policy rather than apologize after a male vice principal paddled two high school girls, prompting complaints from their parents.
Board members of Springtown ISD voted unanimously late Monday to change the district’s policy, which now requires a female administrator to be present if a male school official spanks a female student, MyFoxDFW.com reports.
A debate over the district’s policy erupted after the mother of two girls attending Springtown High School noticed bruises left behind by the paddling doled out by Assistant Principal Kirt Shaw.
"I did give him permission to swat her,” said Cathi Watts, whose 16-year-old daughter, Jada, suffered bruises on her backside that were visible for more than a week. “I didn't give him permission to bruise her.”
Watts said the marks she saw on her daughter prompted her to call Child Protective Services.
"She told me the story and I looked at her butt and I was floored. The imprint of a paddle, the imprint," Watts said.
Another student at the school, Taylor Santos, 15, allegedly let a classmate copy her homework, prompting Shaw to discipline the girl with a large wooden paddle, which he swung with a violent, upward motion, according to the girl's mom, Anna Jorgensen.
“She was telling me it was numb and that it burned,” Jorgensen told FoxNews.com on Monday. “And it looked like a burn. She slept on her side that night. She was more humiliated and embarrassed than anything, but the more she and I thought about it, it wasn’t fair and I thought I needed to do something about it.”
Jorgensen told FoxNews.com her daughter initially received two days of in-school suspension for allowing another student to copy her work. When she was offered the chance to take a paddling in lieu of the second day of suspension, she submitted.
“I really don’t think he had to hit her that hard."
Shaw first had the girl call her mother to approve the punishment, which is required. Jorgensen said she agreed, but had no idea the whack would come from a man — or be so severe. Jorgensen said her daughter, a cross-country athlete who weighs just 95 pounds, was left with large, blistered wounds on her buttocks.
“I really don’t think he had to hit her that hard,” she said. “I’m not saying he went in to intentionally hurt my daughter, but intentional or not, it did happen.”
Springtown ISD Superintendent Mike Kelley defended the use of corporal punishment in the school system.
“We only use corporal punishment if the parent or guardian requests it,” Kelley told FoxNews.com prior to Monday’s vote. “We have not deviated from that practice.”
Watts, meanwhile, still believes the district’s new policy puts her daughter and other female students in a bad situation.
"If I put a mark on her head and send her to school [child protective services] is gonna knock on my door,” Watts told MyFoxDFW.com. “No authority, no school official should be able to bruise my child.”
FoxNews.com's Joshua Rhett Miller contributed to this report.