By Steve Pickett

SPRINGTOWN (CBSDFW.COM) – The Springtown School District previously allowed gender specific paddling of students. Female administrators were allowed to paddle girls, and male administrators did the same for boys.

But the parents of two teenaged students vigorously complained about violations of those rules. “Welts, blisters and bruises” was the description Dena Jorgensen provided to school board trustees Monday night, describing her teenaged daughter who received a disciplinary paddling from a male school administrator.

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In fact, males were paddling female students, according to Springtown ISD Superintendent Mike Kelly. “We don’t have female administrators at some schools who can administer paddling,” he said.

The violation generated an apology from the Superintendent. But it also generated a change in the school district’s policy. With a unanimous vote, the Springtown Board of Education did away with gender specific corporal punishment.

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Parents must provide approval before paddling is allowed. No child will be paddled without parental consent, but an adult witness to the paddling must be of the same gender as the student receiving the punishment.

Parent Cathi Watt called the policy change a step backwards. “Men should not be paddling girls at all,” she said. Watt’s 16-year old daughter was also paddled by a male school administrator.

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