Corporal punishment in Texas schools?! (Or, we might be moving to Austin and I am freaking out). - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 42 Old 04-11-2011, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Everyone,

DH is currently in the interviewing process for a job in Austin, TX.  We are really excited about the idea of moving to Austin.  We've heard from everyone we talk to that it's an absolutely wonderful place.  We love funky neighborhoods, good foods, folk music, biking, midwives and so many more things that Austin is known for.  We feel like it would fit our personalities and politics and are really excited about the possibility of moving there.  The job is also perfect for DH.  So, we've been super excited about the idea of moving. . .

 

Until today.  I was reading another parenting web site and saw an article about corporal punishment in schools and that it is allowed in Texas!!!  I am horrified.  Simply horrified.  DH and I both grew up in Northern states where a teacher would be arrested if they hit a child.  It's truly something that I can't even wrap my head around.  We do not spank our daughter and the thought of someone else doing it at school is just horrid.

 

When I read the article, I thought, not Austin. Surely people there know better than to spank, right?  Right?  I did a quick search to see if schools in Austin actually use corporal punishment and stumbled onto a message board where the consensus seemed to be pro-spanking (some did say that only they should be doing it and not the teachers, but the majority seemed to be pro-spanking). 

 

Is this normal for Austin?  Is spanking socially acceptable there? Will my kid be spanked at school?    

 

We're not home schoolers and our daughter will be going to school.  I am starting to freak out.  I'm also really disappointed because this doesn't fit with the image of Austin that I have, which is a nice, kind oasis.

 

What are your experiences with schools and corporal punishment in Texas?  


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#2 of 42 Old 04-11-2011, 09:01 PM
 
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There are only a few school districts left in TX that allow corporal punishment and IF they do, the parent has to sign a form allowing it.

 

-Angela

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#3 of 42 Old 04-11-2011, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you!  That's a relief. 

 

 

Are the sentiments that I read typical?  Will be able to find other families who don't spank or at least don't judge us and tell us our kid needs to be? 


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#4 of 42 Old 04-11-2011, 09:55 PM
 
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“What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil: envy is evil, hatred is evil, to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil.”
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#5 of 42 Old 04-11-2011, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm aware that I'm asking more than one question.  I also understand that it's probably very hard for the people in Austin to have outsiders come in and change everything. 

 

DH works in an incredibly specialized field.  He applied for several jobs that fit his qualifications and one happened to be in Austin.  We know nothing about Austin and have been asking around and the assumption here (in our liberal, northern college town) is that it is "different" than the rest of Texas.  We certainly didn't seek out Austin specifically, it's all about the job.  Of course people are people.  We happen to be in a community now with a lot of really kind people (but a terrible economy) and I was hoping to find that in Austin.  I'm sorry that the "nice kind oasis" comment didn't go over well.  There are, frankly, many places in the South where our family woudn't/couldn't live because of our political and religious beliefs.  When we've talked to people about this (specifically about us finding a place of worship) we've been told not to worry because Austin is different.  That's what I meant.  I was shocked to read the piece about spanking in schools and it's left a really bad taste in my mouth.  I read an article in the Statesman that said that in one year 49,000 kids were paddled in the 2006-2007 school year.  I had absolutely no idea that this was going on anywhere in the US and wanted people's experiences.  I'm glad to know that it's not standard.  I'm also realizing that this is going to be very different from where we are now.  Clearly, this is a big deal for us. 

 

I thought I could come here and ask questions and get answers from people who could appreciate or at least understand my anxiety over the fact that spanking and paddling are practiced in schools.  I am grateful for Angela's response.        

 

 


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#6 of 42 Old 04-11-2011, 11:28 PM
 
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“What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil: envy is evil, hatred is evil, to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil.”
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#7 of 42 Old 04-12-2011, 06:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I appreciate that you took time to respond.  I felt frustrated by "Indians" comment, because I wouldn't want to live somewhere that still had that kind of law on its books either.  I'm glad that you haven't known anyone that has been spanked at school.  The article I read said it's still practiced and that 49,000 children were paddled so I was freaking out. 

 

I'm also not at all okay with other children being spanked or being threatened with being spanked by the same teachers who are teaching my kid.  I won't send my child to a school where other kids are being hit with paddles and I wanted to know if we will be considered freaks or bad parents for our pacifist views.  

 

Clearly, I'm realizing that things there will be different.  Thank you for helping me consider this.


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#8 of 42 Old 04-12-2011, 12:42 PM
 
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I don't live in Austin, I'm in the DFW area, but there is no corporal punishment in our schools here. It might be "on the books" meaning that it's legal but I promise you that all of the parents I know (some who spank at home and others who don't) would come unglued if a teacher or staff member laid a hand on one of their children.


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#9 of 42 Old 04-12-2011, 02:16 PM
 
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Corporal punishment is not permitted in Austin ISD, the school district that serves most of Austin.  I don't know for sure about the other districts that serve the rest of the greater Austin area, but I would be surprised if they do still have it.  What part of town is your husband's potential job going to be in?  There's a great attachment parenting community in Austin if you make the effort to seek it out.  Your next door neighbor may spank their kids, but you can definitely find like-minded families with a little effort here.  Also--in the districts around Texas that do permit corporal punishment, I'd be surprised if any of them allow teachers to actually administer corporal punishment.  Punishments are generally handled by principals and assistant principals.

 

ETA: According to this site, it looks like the nearest districts to Austin that permit corporal punishment are Marble Falls ISD and Temple ISD.

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#10 of 42 Old 04-12-2011, 02:40 PM
 
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Yeah, it's not permitted in Austin ISD or Hays CISD.

I like to refer to Austin as the blueberry in the tomato soup. There is definitely a lot of diversity here: a lot of conservative cowboys, a lot of hippie liberals, a lot of hippie cowboys, a lot of libertarian hipsters, and so on. But in general, I think it's definitely possible for you to find a community where you feel at home. In general, central Austin is more liberal and the outlying suburbs are more conservative. As a whole, the city is much more liberal than the rest of the state.


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#11 of 42 Old 04-12-2011, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you ladies so much!  His job would be downtown.  Our plan is to rent for a couple of years and then try and buy a house in South Austin.

 

Is it possible to remain a one car family in Austin? I've heard it's bikeable.  Are there bike garages and easy places for commuters to park them?  Is it safe to bike with kids in trailers there?  


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#12 of 42 Old 04-13-2011, 07:42 AM
 
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Disclaimer- I live in Houston, not Austin, but I would expect it to be difficult to be a one car family if your dh is commuting with the one car every day.  Easier than Houston, I'm sure (ie possible... not possible here) but I would expect it to be difficult.

 

-Angela

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#13 of 42 Old 04-13-2011, 08:35 AM
 
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As long as you're pretty close to the city center, Austin is pretty good for biking and buses. There are bike racks everywhere -- I've never had a problem finding a spot to stash my bike. Like most cities that have an older central core and newer suburbs, once you get out of the city center, it gets a lot harder to get around without a car.

As far as bike trailers go...there are a lot of bike lanes. I wouldn't feel quite comfortable using bike trailer in the middle of downtown because the streets are pretty narrow and congested. But for going around the residential areas, the central south side, the cherrywood area, trailers are great. You see a ton of them around. I have a front bike seat that I use for DS. It's not as easy to ride with the front carrier as it is with a trailer (32 pounds of kid on the front of the bike is heavy!) but it feels a little safer on narrow roads.

I have a couple of friends who live in the Manor Road area (east central very close to downtown) and they do quite well as one-car families. In both cases, both spouses work. In one of the families, the husband works from home and the wife usually takes the bus to her job downtown. In the other case, the husband rides his bike to his job nearby and the wife drives to work downtown. If you're not working, it would definitely be preferable if your husband could ride his bike or take the bus to work. I think it would be hard to be a stay-at-home mom in Austin without access to a car all day. If you're both working, I think you could easily work out a way for one of you to get to and from work without a car, as long as your home and job were both pretty central.

 


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#14 of 42 Old 04-13-2011, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Jen!  Which neighborhoods should we look at to rent for the first couple of years? 

 

Our budget won't be super tight, but we would like to save some money for a down payment on a house.

 

We would like a place with:

sidewalks

diversity

within safe walking distance to a library, park, coffee shops and restaurants

close to public transportation

relative safety

not too close to lots of young students

close to a YMCA or rec center w/ childcare and an indoor pool (we're ridiculously pale and heat sensitive)

access to a food co-op

 

I will be staying at home initially and it would be awesome to be in a kid friendly neighborhood (other parents at the park during the day, etc.)  If we need a second car, we can buy one.  We love having just one though.


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#15 of 42 Old 04-13-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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Quote:

 Lots of people are angry about new people and the amount of growth we've had in the past few years and that articles keep painting a false picture of jobs galore. The traffic sucks. The public transportation sucks. The growth is making cost of living sky rocket. New superficial values and Have and Have Nots are changing the face of Austin.
This is true, and it's definitely worth being aware of this dynamic. Most of the people who have been here for a long time have very mixed feelings about the growth. I moved here in 1996 so I'm not a native Austinite, but just in that time the amount of change and growth the city has seen has been staggering. The kind of accepted narrative is that scads of people have been moving here from places like California, buying up the cheap property, causing home values to skyrocket in the central areas, and pricing everyone else out the market. 10 years ago, the Manor Road area was insanely affordable. I tried to buy there three years ago and was totally priced out. A similar thing happened in South central Austin. That gentrification has its good point, but it also means a lot of minority and working class people can't afford the taxes on homes they own outright. And young middle class families frequently can't afford the mortgages in any of the walkable neighborhoods. Traffic has gotten really bad in a lot of parts of town. IH-35 is a parking lot during rush hour. It's really difficult to put in mass transit when so much of the city was developed after the 1970s. Most of the outlying suburban sprawl is in response to that incoming migration. Hell, in the last ten years the city of Kyle has grown from 5,000 to about 30,000 people, all in new suburban subdivisions. The growth puts tremendous pressures on the infrastructure and environment. Did I mention that the GOP-led legislature is trying to slash its way out of a $27 billion (with a B) budget shortfall? Most of that is coming out of health care and education. A lot of the Austin "feel" is changing in response to that growth. It's still laid-back, funky, all that. But I remember the way it felt 15 years ago, and it's very different now. More materialistic, more polished, more hassles. I love Austin and it's my home and my community. But like everyone else, I have mixed feelings about the changes.

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#16 of 42 Old 04-13-2011, 09:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by freestylemama View Post

Thank you Jen!  Which neighborhoods should we look at to rent for the first couple of years? 

 

Our budget won't be super tight, but we would like to save some money for a down payment on a house.

 

We would like a place with:

sidewalks

diversity

within safe walking distance to a library, park, coffee shops and restaurants

close to public transportation

relative safety

not too close to lots of young students

close to a YMCA or rec center w/ childcare and an indoor pool (we're ridiculously pale and heat sensitive)

access to a food co-op

 

I will be staying at home initially and it would be awesome to be in a kid friendly neighborhood (other parents at the park during the day, etc.)  If we need a second car, we can buy one.  We love having just one though.


 

I would look at the Cherrywood neighborhood first (78722). That's my 'hood. Walkable, good parks, coffeeshops and theaters on Manor Road, good bus routes. One thing I don't like about Manor is that there's no library walkable, but several are bikable. It's a super family friendly neighborhood and very chill and crunchy. It's very easy to get downtown on a bike -- maybe a 15 minute ride?

The east side is a little sketchy around 12th and Chicon, but one really lovely neighborhood is the garden area clustered around Holly Street (that's north of the river but south of Cesar Chavez). Not as much retail, but really lovely older homes that are still pretty affordable to rest. You'll see a lot more diversity on the east side, though it's steadily getting whiter with gentrification.

Also, the South Congress/South First street neighborhood is great (78704). I lived there for years. Tons of retail. It's getting more upscale and expensive, but still has a lot of heart.

You might also enjoy Clarksville west of downtown.

Slightly less walkable but still pretty cool is the northwest-central area, around Burnet Road. Accessing downtown without a car gets a bit more difficult there, though.

You're going to find a lot of students anywhere central -- there are 50,000 undergrads at UT! But the biggest concentrations are in west campus. Hyde Park is actually another neighborhood you should check out. There are a lot of students there, but also a lot of non-students.

The main food Co-op is Wheatsville, which is right next to the University on Guadalupe and 34th. There's a YMCA on Cesar Chavez.

 


Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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#17 of 42 Old 04-13-2011, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much Jen! 


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#18 of 42 Old 04-13-2011, 12:53 PM
 
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“What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil: envy is evil, hatred is evil, to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil.”
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#19 of 42 Old 04-13-2011, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you!  This is really, really helpful.  I've done a lot of research and am realizing that Austin isn't what we thought it was. Our current city is actually more Democratic (in voting trends) than Austin.  Our current neighborhood is known for being gay friendly and is very racially diverse.  Like I said, we like where we are, but the job will win.  We want to make the transition as painless as possible and find an area as much like our current one as possible.  


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#20 of 42 Old 04-13-2011, 05:07 PM
 
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The interesting thing about diversity in Austin is that the minority population is actually leaving (or getting priced out of) the city center and moving into the suburbs: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/census-shows-major-shift-from-city-to-suburbs-1329587.html

In general, with the exception of hispanics, you don't have the pockets of first generation immigrants like you do in, say, Boston. Once exception might be certain parts of north Austin that have clusters of Asian immigrants. But again, that's in areas that aren't close to the city center.

For anyone without a ton of money, you really have to do a kind of calculus when you're buying a home in Austin. A 1,600 square foot house in cherrywood, which is a traditionally working class neighborhood, can easily go past $300,000 or even $400,000 nowadays. That kind of price can get you a Mcmansion out in the burbs. So unless you're highly motivated to live in a walkable central neighborhood, it makes a lot more sense to move into one of the newer rings of development for most middle class people. 


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#21 of 42 Old 04-18-2011, 03:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by freestylemama View Post

Thank you!  This is really, really helpful.  I've done a lot of research and am realizing that Austin isn't what we thought it was. Our current city is actually more Democratic (in voting trends) than Austin.  Our current neighborhood is known for being gay friendly and is very racially diverse.  Like I said, we like where we are, but the job will win.  We want to make the transition as painless as possible and find an area as much like our current one as possible.  


That's because Austin is in Texas. We moved to TX from Oregon 4 years ago and there are some things that I just don't expect to see in Texas. Democratic and gay-friendly are two of those things. Racially diverse really depends on the area. It seems like people clump together in parts of any city. Here in DFW we have a section of one town that has a bunch of Pacific Islanders that all live within about 3 square miles of each other. The same is true of many other races and ethnicities.

 


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#22 of 42 Old 04-19-2011, 01:47 PM
 
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Krista really hit the nail on the head and I don't think she was trying to be at all rude. I wouldn't call austin liberal I would describe it more as welcoming of eccentricity and more libertarian than socialist type liberal and more gay friendly than racially diverse. I call shenanigans on the numbers given in that artical but spanking definitely is legal in many school districts even if it is rarely practiced anymore. Its done in the office not the classroom though- i grew up in houston and it was even pretty rare there. The incoming hordes have really cost us "old austin" but you still see a lot of holdouts and since you aren't from ca people will not tend.to be as cranky about your arrival (jk....sorta) people tend to be pretty friendly here. My favorite living area is 78704 and that I would bike with kids but the 3 child priced us out of renting in that area so now im in cherrycreek and it would probably meet your needs. I can walk to the library and a coffee shop and I could bike to the store and the farmers market. I don't bike with the trailer here but I could if I stayed in the neighborhood or where there is a sidewalk. The y is 10-15 min drive with no traffic but I could take one bus to the downtown y. If you're sensitive about heat you may be a prisoner in your own home without a car. We do a lot of free outdoor hiking/water stuff that austin is awesome for but its really rain dependant and the greenbelt is sadly dry right now. If you move here try to drive off peak, be laid back and not overly horrified by the texasness, love dogs, don't complain about the noise levels of live music and practice saying y'all and drinking ice tea. ...and please never say that austin has wonderful mexican food.
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#23 of 42 Old 04-20-2011, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the tips. We are moving there and are looking mostly in the 78704.  I have a friend whose DH was stationed at Fort Hood (she's a Northern liberal too) and she told me that the Mexican food was out of this world lol!  We're looking for a second car because it seems like everything is more spread out than we're used to. 

 

I think we're also accepting that Austin is in Texas and it is what it is and we'll just have to adapt or find a little bubble.

 

Thanks for all of your comments and advice.  It's been very helpful.

 

 


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#24 of 42 Old 04-24-2011, 06:43 AM
 
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We live in Houston and are PERFECTLY comfortable as liberals, I know plenty of happy gay couples here, etc. It isn't the "default" here to be a Democrat the way it is in the NE, but in urban areas it isn't weird or shocking to be liberal either. And I have lived in New England small towns and don't find Texas towns to be any more (or less) provincial.

 

Also in Houston the school district forbids corporal punishment.

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#25 of 42 Old 05-20-2011, 08:26 AM
 
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Hi! I haven't read all the replies so I'm just replying to your original comment. I had a similar reaction when we moved to the region from CA. We moved to Oklahoma, then Texas. When I first encountered this same issue, I asked other moms about it in the local AP group and the reaction was "don't worry, even if it is legal, they need your permission, they aren't just going to spank your child". But, to me that just isn't satisfactory! I didn't, and don't, want my child in an environment where that is an acceptable option for solving problems. I wonder about the attitudes and skills of the teachers and administrators in such a system. It shows a belief in the effectiveness of punishment. We decided to go the private Montessori school route and it has been such a wonderful environment for our children, even though it means we have less disposable income and scaled down on the house we could buy. I know there are some areas where there are public montessori options and I wish it were more widespread and readily available in the public school system.

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#26 of 42 Old 06-22-2011, 08:22 PM
 
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I actually lived in a small East Texas town town right next to a school district where, in the late 90s anyway, they did use corporeal punishment in the public school. My sister's boyfriend was paddled at age 16. It was kinda funny, though ;) Guess his folks gave them permission.  I wonder if they still do it.


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#27 of 42 Old 06-23-2011, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really can't imagine a single situation where a person getting hit with a wooden object would be funny. 

 

 


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#28 of 42 Old 06-24-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freestylemama View Post

I really can't imagine a single situation where a person getting hit with a wooden object would be funny. 

 

 

 

My mother, my brother, and I were all sitting around the kitchen table one night, having a few beers and chatting. My brother was amazed at how well all five of us siblings turned out: All independent, in loving marriages, property-owning, tax-paying, hard-working native Texans. 

 

My mother said, "Well, we tried our best, even when we had to use the belt."

 

My brother replied, to whit, "Mom, please — I let you spank me until I was 18. It wasn't like it hurt."

 

Now, I'm not condoning corporal punishment, and my husband and I are too bleeding-heart liberal to use it with our child, but taking yourself and your beliefs too seriously is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. 

 

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#29 of 42 Old 06-25-2011, 02:17 PM
 
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Thank you! HE thought it was funny.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoEngland View Post



 

My mother, my brother, and I were all sitting around the kitchen table one night, having a few beers and chatting. My brother was amazed at how well all five of us siblings turned out: All independent, in loving marriages, property-owning, tax-paying, hard-working native Texans. 

 

My mother said, "Well, we tried our best, even when we had to use the belt."

 

My brother replied, to whit, "Mom, please — I let you spank me until I was 18. It wasn't like it hurt."

 

Now, I'm not condoning corporal punishment, and my husband and I are too bleeding-heart liberal to use it with our child, but taking yourself and your beliefs too seriously is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. 

 



 


Jesus-loving Doula/Birth Photographer Mama to Tor 4/2007, Zion 11/2009, Enoch 11/2011, and Zephyr due 12/13/2013

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#30 of 42 Old 06-25-2011, 02:45 PM
 
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I hate to sound rude, but welcome to the South. I went to high school in the Austin area and at that time we did not have 'corporal punishment'. When I transferred H.S. to one out in a small town they did have spanking. But, and a big but, the parents have to sign permission to let the school spank their child. Other then that the kid will get I.S.S (in school suspension), a bad referral, or their card pulled (in the elementary schools they have green, yellow, sometimes blue, and a red card system. Green means good, yellow means they acted up a little (maybe talking during class), blue is a second chance to correct the behavior, and red means you sit in a different part of the class and get a note sent home. 

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