You may have heard of that story in which the paddling she got for skipping class left bruises for a week. When she skipped again, she refused four more licks and was sent home. Her mother tried to reason with the principal and the school board but they would not back down. Some TV coverage had students backing up the administration and in support of paddling. A radio talk show I remember had students call in and tell their story. I remember a 17 year old girl called in to report that she had gotten 2 licks for chewing gum, to which the radio host commented “that's ridiculous,” meaning it's ridiculous to punish someone like that for such a trivial offense.
Eventually what happened was that the school board let the mother come in to school and punish the daughter. She used a belt and said to the local TV news that she was “going to just barely hit her.” What has been reported falsely was that she supposedly “sizzled her behind” with the belt, and that the daughter would have been better off taking the paddle from them (the administrators). But that was never said. The mother did go to the school and in the presence of the principal and a witness lightly tap her daughter's behind with belt as she bent over the desk. Anyway, it was a vice-principal with the same name as the one who paddled me that delivered the initial 4-swat paddling to Tamara at Mesquite High so hard that she would not take another one.
Also I looked at the photo article you sent of a Dallas area principal holding a medium sized paddle. At Jefferson the paddle was a lot bigger and scarier looking than that one, and believe me there is no way that smaller one could be more painful than the big one used on me as well as others.
Jeff: Was this your only paddling? If not, were you paddled at your former school and state, or just in the Dallas area?
Laura: I received a spanking in the elementary school in West Virginia, maybe at 7 or 8 years of age. I think it was for talking in class more than once. Don't remember details, and never had another incident. When my family moved to the Dallas area, I attended Thomas Jefferson Jr. High, and I received a paddling there my first year.
Jeff: Why four swats? Was it for four tardies, or just some whim of the paddler?
Laura: It wasn't explained to me why the punishment consisted of 4 licks, or swats. There was no “schedule” as to any certain number of licks for any particular offense. Students just had to accept whatever the principal or administrator came up with.
Jeff: What did they call a "tardy" at your school? Late for school, late for class, not in your seat when the bell rang, pencil not out, etc?
Laura: I had maybe two tardies prior, with the same first period teacher. I walked several blocks to school in the morning and tended to leave at the last minute. It was only a few minutes each, and she let it go, except the second time made some comment. On the third occasion, I was late maybe 10 minutes and tried to quietly enter and make my way to my seat. The teacher called out to me and said I was to take a tardy slip to the office and then I could return. I assumed that's exactly what would happen - I would take the slip of paper to the office, get a detention or a lecture or something, and then return to class. As I see it now, my tardiness was just a bad habit that maybe needed correcting - but not by being hit.
Jeff: How was the paddling set up?
Laura: The office was set up with a small waiting area in front of a counter, behind which was the department secretaries and clerk. You had to see the clerk first and wait in one of the few chairs in the waiting area. I had to wait there what seemed an overly long time - and remember thinking that for being only 10 minutes late, I was waiting at least twice as long or more just to get this taken care of. The vice-principal came out to call my name. He was a former athletic coach and always wore a suit and tie. He called me into his office and went straight to the point - stating that I would be receiving a paddling for being tardy.
Jeff: Were you expecting to be paddled, or was it a surprise?
Laura: It was a real surprise; as I stated. I had grown complacent about the tardiness, as the teacher had let it go a few times. So I was not expecting to be physically punished, at least not without any alternative. I later learned that the school district’s official policy was that corporal punishment was only to be used as a last resort. Not so, in my case, and not in many others that I heard of. It was used routinely, as a first resort. I did protest somewhat, saying I would not allow anyone to do this to me, but he pretty much would not hear of it. He said I would be suspended from school until I took my licks.