ISD Keeps Paddling Policy

Wooden paddle | Image by McMullen Photography

An East Texas school district’s paddling policy remains unchanged despite the arrest of a principal for striking a student with a wooden paddle.

The school board for Overton ISD met on October 9, their first regularly scheduled board meeting since the arrest of Jeffery Hogg, Overton High School principal, as reported by KERA News.

A female student was given the option of an in-school suspension or three paddle swats as punishment for an infraction. Hogg carried out the paddling on August 14 with the consent of both the student and her mother.

The student received two strikes during the paddling before reportedly expressing a desire for it to stop. However, the mother and principal assured the student that after the next hit, the punishment would come to an end. The student agreed to the third strike.

Superintendent Larry Calhoun has defended Hogg’s actions, citing adherence to district policies and the parent’s permission.

The student allegedly exhibited signs of bruising within 48 hours of receiving the corporal punishment, according to a complaint that was filed with the police, per KERA.

The Child Advocacy Center, an organization dedicated to investigating instances of child abuse, purportedly conducted an examination of the student.

The Texas Tribune asked a forensic pediatrician to conduct a review of the photographs that were taken to document the injuries. The pediatrician noted that physical evidence of corporal punishment persisting for longer than 24 hours is consistent with child abuse, reported KERA.

Hogg was arrested on one count of assault and is currently being investigated by the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office, reported The Texas Tribune.

The principal has resumed his professional duties while the incident remains under investigation.

Texas and 16 other states allow the use of physical punishment, such as paddling, in public schools as a form of discipline, per The Texas Tribune. However, parents have the right to submit written notification to the school district, indicating that they do not want their child to be subjected to such punishment.

Overton ISD, like many public school systems, has been struggling academically. Only 40% of students scored at grade level on their STAAR exams during the 2021-2022 school year. The district’s performance was just as bad as Dallas ISD’s, which clocked 41% in that metric.

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