"When I asked Debbie what she thought of all this (paddling students in school), she paused a moment and said, 'It is weird.'"
Mike went to school in Grand Prairie ISD, near Dallas, Texas. He attended school during the years when the male backlash to "women's lib" had just begun to result in more teen girls being paddled, often in places that never paddled girls before. As Mike notes, paddling rates for teen girls, in the fewer schools that still paddle at all, may well be much higher now than they were then. The main reasons for quite severe paddling in many schools now is something as trivial as a few tardies or dress codes, or even one five-minute tardy, which is considered a "skip."
Regardless of the frequency, the sexual dynamics of paddling adolescents, and especially of men paddling adolescent girls, are those of physical and sexual abuse.
All names of individuals have been changed. The name of the particular strip club, "Baby Dolls," where spanking allegedly could be arranged in a rented "back room" I've decided to leave, with the caveat that this report is third-hand, and there are many strip clubs in the Dallas area which may have been confused.
Although some may argue that Mike did not know the inner thoughts of paddlers, it is important to consider what he, as a "witness" to these paddlings second hand, thought about them then, and still thinks now. He felt that at least some of the paddler's motivations was nothing but sexual and sadistic abuse, especially of sexually attractive adolescent girls. That is why I warn parents that any paddling school is a hostile environment that harms every single student in some way for life, just being around it, whether they ever get paddled or not. Mike went to school for many years of his childhood and adolescence believing that his fellow students were being physically and sexually abused by exploitive school personnel, and that there was nothing his parents or anyone else in society could do to prevent it. He also lived every day with the belief that he himself was also at risk - not for legitimate correction, but physical and sexual abuse with the pretence of discipline, at any given point. That belief, which is quite common among high school students (and is quite correct too in my opinion), is itself a severely harmful but largely hidden effect of paddling. It is at work with a large percentage of students, regardless of what various paddler's true inner thoughts may be.
Interview August, 2003
You have a very powerful website about this issue. After I noticed you mentioned the school district that I grew up in on your site (Grand Prairie ISD), I felt compelled to write. Also, it so happens that I met a 20-year-old, “Debbie,” who went to South Grand Prairie High School and who went to school with “Jill” in your book, (the cheerleader who was in the news and was paddled by two male administrators for smoking). Debbie is home for the summer and then will be back off to college. More about that in a moment.
I am now in my thirties. My first experience with paddling in school was in the first grade, back in the seventies. I never received one from this teacher (she was very young and might have been a first year teacher), but I witnessed several because she paddled students over her desk in front of the class. Her paddle swats were two handed and were very hard. These paddlings were often for very trivial offenses. I will never forget the look of total humiliation and dejection on the face of one of the students who walked by me after being paddled by this teacher. Even though I never got one by her, this activity traumatized me anyway, making me afraid to go to school. As I grew up in GP, I was aware of and saw plenty more of this. When I saw this as a first grader I was shocked and, in my own way back then, outraged. When I read reports of this sort of thing still going on today, I still am.
Back to Debbie. When I found out she went to SGP High School, I asked if she'd mind if I questioned her about what really goes on there regarding punishment of students. She told me for tiny infractions, usually a tardy, you can get a detention like she once did. For most other infractions, you get a "choice" of In-School-Suspension, or a paddling in the principal's office. Then she told me that if you take the ISS, they lower whatever grade you would have gotten for the day by 30 points, even if you had an important test. After hearing this, I immediately realized that the ISS is not really much of a choice at all. If your GPA is going to be destroyed and you care at all about getting into college, or even passing, then the ISS is just not a viable option, and the administrators well know this. This way they can tell the public, "Well, that was his/her choice."