Three Rivers Independent School District, in Three Rivers, Texas, announced the board has approved spankings with a wooden paddle for students who misbehave in the classroom.

Using force to deliberately inflict physical pain as a method of discipline, either with your hand or a paddle, is called “corporal punishment.” Trustees unanimously agreed to okay the principle or “campus behavior coordinator” to administer a paddling at their discretion provided the parents give consent. As parents register their kids for the new year they will be asked to provide written indication of opting in or out of the program. “If the parent is not comfortable with it, that’s the end of the discussion,” Said Superintendent Mary Springs.

Earlier this year, campus behavior coordinator Andrew Amaro, who is a native of the town and went to Three Rivers himself, approached district leaders to reinstate the policy. He sees it as a tool that will have “a more immediate effect on students than do ISS (In School Suspension) or detention.”

Amaro was on the receiving end of the club himself as a youngster. “It was an immediate response for me. I knew that if I got in trouble with a teacher and I was disrespectful, whatever the infraction was, I knew I was going to get a swat by the principal.”

Sending students down the hall for a ritualized beating has been controversial for decades. As liberal influence over the school system grew stronger, the so called “barbaric” custom was virtually eliminated. The matter was settled legally by Ingraham vs. Wright in 1977. The Supreme Court declared that “corporal punishment in schools is not cruel or unusual.” The decision was upheld in 2008 after an 18-year-old student claimed injuries.

Even though perfectly legal, many liberal educators are totally outraged and fight against spanking tooth and nail. Obama’s former Department of Education secretary, John King, sent a letter begging state leaders to stop beating children at school. His letter whined in typical liberal fashion without presenting any hard evidence. Instead, he lists tail biting circular studies that back each other’s speculation with more speculation. King wants you to believe that many “civil rights advocates, medical professionals, and researchers agree [spanking] is harmful to students.”

“Students are subject to corporal punishment for something as minor as cell phone use or going to the bathroom without permission.” OMG that’s terrible. Let’s see here, you’re saying that not paying attention and disrupting other students, or being out of sight of the adults responsible for a student’s safety while “awol” in the bathroom – if that is where they really were – is not something that should be a paddling offense?

King makes two points which liberals just wave their fingers at and say “see there” and consider the matter airtight sealed. The first is that “In the short term, students who receive this form of punishment show an increase in aggressive and defiant behavior.” I pulled up the reference he cited to see how firm his footing was. The first thing it says boils down to “everything that follows is pure speculation.”

It says, “Recent evidence is difficult to obtain for several reasons. First, spanking is challenging to observe in the home because it occurs relatively rarely in most families and because families may not spank in front of observers. Second, it is difficult to study in the lab because university Institutional Review Boards prohibit the gratuitous hurting of participants.” So in other words, there is no evidence.

A comparison was done in the 1980s between children who got spankings versus those who had time outs. The original outcome of the study said time outs were more effective. “But the findings were based on a comparison of post-intervention rates of compliance, which is typical for random assignment experiments.” Oops. When the data was re-analyzed it came up a virtual tie but that is not how the researchers presented it. The supposedly fair and impartial researchers wrote it to to be misleadingly supportive of their position. “Spanking was not found to be more effective.” It was not found to be less effective either but they left that part out.

The second main point of King’s letter concerns long term results. “Students who experience physical punishment in school are more likely to later grapple with substance abuse and mental health issues, including depression, personality disorders and post-traumatic stress.” When you pull that reference up, it turns out the evidence is being used out of context.

The study linking all these horrible things later in life is referring to a much higher level of force. “The current research investigated the possible link between harsh physical punishment (ie, pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, hitting) in the absence of more severe child maltreatment…” Basically this study is concerned with kids who were severely beaten at home in extremely authoritarian environments, not a cross section of American households.

Those in favor of corporal punishment at school don’t bother to resort to fancy gobbledygook, just basic logic. Spankings at school deters misconduct, justice is swift, it backs up parents who spank at home, and costs virtually nothing.

“Even the threat of physical punishment such as a displayed wooden paddle in a principal’s office discourages disobedient or unruly conduct,” says author Brian Wilson. “Intimidation has a powerful effect on student behavior. Corporal punishment supporters believe that spanking or paddling offers a strong incentive for motivating students to stay in line.” When a student misbehaves, punishment can be meted out virtually on the spot.

“Principals, teachers and coaches can administer the punishment within a matter of seconds — not including discussions before and after the punishment to remind students of policies concerning their misconduct. As a result, students don’t have to spend days or hours stressing about the punishment.” Dr. John Hancock, a Texas school assistant superintendent explains, “Without corporal punishment at school, some parents feel there’s a disconnect between what they’re enforcing at home and what teachers are enforcing at school. They believe a unified discipline plan that allows for corporal punishment at school ultimately improves behavior.”

One thing the two sides agree on is a child that requires frequent spanking will only get more aggressive with age. For that reason, each spanking under the new Texas plan will be closely monitored. Students who are unusually aggressive will be identified faster and diverted into other programs to find the underlying causes of the abnormal aggression. “We will look at how many discipline referrals were made compared to last year and how many times (corporal punishment) was administered,” Superintendent Springs said.