“Touching a student was to be avoided, and touching a female student on some areas of her body would have been absolutely not acceptable and actionable. In the context of official school procedures, however, it was permitted not just to touch the same student on one of those areas, but to forcefully strike her with a wooden board. The paddling became a substitute for touching, and I found myself deriving some satisfaction from this.
…In the few instances where an attractive girl was the recipient, I found myself experiencing an odd satisfaction in delivering such swats in a way I did not with the much more routine cases involving male, or less attractive female students.”
I happened upon your web site called, "nopaddle." I don't know about some of the claims, but a few of your observations have some basis in fact.
During the 1970s I was employed in the Texas public school system in the greater Dallas area. I had a business administration background with a minor in education. I did not have a teaching credential, so I joined the administrative staff.
To be honest, most of the administrators would not make great teachers anyway. It seemed to me that a disproportionate number of the staff were former athletic coaches. This was probably due to the nature of the role. The head principal had to be an efficient administrator and run the school in all aspects, but the role of his staff was to do the more grunt paperwork and provide the enforcement. Thus it is somewhat like being on security detail and does not require any great talent, such as a real inspirational teacher would.
Even though most of the students were well behaved, there were minor infractions of rules every day that consumed much of one's time. The district policies allowed for corporal punishment under some circumstances, but it was accepted in that regional culture, even by the students and families, so it was routinely practiced more than the policies by themselves allowed. Generally, towards the end of the school term as any alternate available options ran out of time, it was practiced more frequently.
Very often, dealing with the same students, the same infractions, the same excuses over time one becomes somewhat desensitized to the circumstances and views the discipline as simply a routine part of the day and week. Just as with a prison guard (the similarity is not so distant) who day in and day out must deal with the unpleasantries associated with keeping the inmates in order, one gets desensitized to what one is doing. As students, particularly teenagers, are always trying to challenge authority, there can develop a game of sorts to see who is on top.
It was always vital that we administrators be the ones in control, and thus the rules were always strictly enforced. For particularly troublesome students, who would visit the office seemingly every week, and especially if they displayed a smart attitude, the "game" took on the character of "really teaching him" such that physical punishments were not administered dispassionately, as they were supposed to be, and could even become a source of minor amusement. This, of course, was not the design of the system, but since we in the office were all human, such attitudes and the actions that resulted could not help but develop.
I left the school district after eight years on staff, partly due to becoming disillusioned with the attitudes that I developed. I would have preferred being a teacher, but opted for a career in the business world.
Jeff: What grade levels are we talking--Jr. High, Sr. High, Elementary, or a combination of all of them?
Rick: My first assignment was at [name omitted-we'll call it "HS" for the published interview--Jeff] High School in [Greater Dallas area], Texas. It was basically a mostly white middle to upper-middle class suburban school. After three years there, I accepted a job at the [name of school omitted-call it "MS"] middle school, in a suburb just outside of Dallas, where I remained for about five years.