Football, Coaches, School Districts, and Corporal Punishment

According to the Dallas Morning News this morning, an investigation into the Spring 2007 paddling of a high school football player has been completed and a report filed.

The report, as reported by the DMN, states that a football player at Lincoln High School was paddled up to 21 times with the plank of a canoe. After the fourth “lick”, the wood paddle splintered and broke, but was fixed with athletic tape for the “licks” to continue. Up to seven coaches witnessed and/or participated in the beating. Paddling is legal in Texas, but is not permitted under Dallas ISD policies. Here’s the amazing part of the story: all of the employees, including the administration who knew about the incident, continue to be employed by the school district, and shockingly, nearly all employees are still at Lincoln High School. The high school student was the one to tip off child abuse authorities, and at this time, the principal was notified. The principal verbally reprimanded the coaches, but no further action was taken despite the clear violation in school district policy.

And then the issue seemingly vanished. That is until a parent reported the abuse in September 2008. Yet because of the “staleness” of the complaint (remember: the alleged beating took place in Spring 2007), the Dallas Police Department can’t follow up on the allegations due to lack of evidence, and must be referred to administrative and internal procedures within the school district. So what does the school district do? Very little.

Until the newspaper gets involved, questioning both the actions of the school district and employees involved. The result: one coach placed on administrative leave; the principal placed on administrative leave, with the intent to transfer campuses at the end of the year. Both men are still employees of the Dallas ISD at this point in time. Now – the issue here isn’t so much the existence as to whether or not paddling was the only way to “reach this kid,” a defense raised by the football coaches. This isn’t a commentary on how to raise children, or whether to spare the rod and spoil the child. Nor is the issue whether or not paddling should be allowed in schools, or for certain situations. The sole issue here is simply one of child abuse. Twenty-one times this child was hit, and at hit #4, the canoe paddle broke and was fixed for the beating to continue. To top it off, the alleged abusers are STILL at the helm within the school district. I’m outraged. And if you are too, contact the DISD board of trustees. Maybe then some type of actual corrective action will finally come in this case.

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