Parents of ex-Groveton students taking school paddling complaints to state

Posted on: Wed, 01/26/2005 - 11:13pm
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Parents of ex-Groveton students taking school paddling complaints to state

By GARY BASS, The Lufkin Daily News

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A report from the Texas Education Agency on the paddling incident in late 2004 that prompted Shelley Hall to take her children out of the Groveton school district stated that the TEA "cannot lawfully intervene in student discipline matters."

In an effort to prevent similar incidents, Hall and another parent of a former Groveton ISD student, Lynn Causby, will be in Austin Friday to tell their stories at a summit for "creating a positive school environment for student success."

"Basically, the TEA told us they couldn't do anything because there are no laws on the books to monitor how corporal punishment is used in the schools," Hall said.

On Sept. 29, Hall's son, Chris, received two "pops" with a paddle for continuously refusing to turn in his homework. The paddling by the high school principal was hard enough that it left red welts on Chris's behind that lasted four days, Hall said. At the time, her son was 9 years old.

Groveton ISD Superintendent Joe David Driskell said the district received word that the TEA was looking into the incident. He also said officials with the state agency told them there was nothing they could do about the situation because student discipline is left up to the discretion of the school district.

"We haven't changed anything about our corporal punishment rules," Driskell said. "We followed district policy when the paddling was administered."

The Halls received word from the TEA on Jan. 10. Leslie Smith, a program specialist with the Texas Education Agency's Safe Schools program, signed the letter.

"Texas laws do not prohibit or regulate corporal punishment," the letter stated.

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