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Corporal Punishment Continues In Many Texas Schools

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - An emotional debate is underway about how far is too far when it comes to disciplining children.

Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson spoke out for the first time Monday since his indictment on child abuse charges -- that stemmed from spanking his four-year-old son with a switch.

The Palestine native released a statement saying, in part, "I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser. I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury."

Hitting kids at home can escalate to criminal act. But what about hitting kids at school? You may be surprised to learn that several North Texas school districts still allow corporal punishment.

Parents like Beth Emerson and Dina Smith don't shy away from spanking their children now and then. But they both believe the action is for parent only.

For them, things are different when an adult at a school is administering the punishment.

"I just don't feel like it's a wise decision," Smith said. "I don't know the force used… their temper."

Emerson said, "In today's age I am surprised. It seems we tightened up on a lot of that stuff. It worked at a time, but not anymore."

In several North Texas school districts, corporal punishment of students remains on the books.

In Duncanville, parents must approve the paddling, and many do.

Last year, 227 Desoto ISD students received paddling as punishment. The district's Superintendent, Dr. David Harris, issued a statement saying, in part, "For some students and families, corporal punishment is an effective deterrent. For others is it not."

For the Grand Prairie and Wylie ISD's, corporal punishment isn't prohibited, but no longer practiced.

Grand Prairie ISD spokesman Sam Buchmeyer said, "I know anecdotally, we did have it both ways. Some parents did not want us to use it. Others did want us to use it, so we thought as educators; there were more effective ways of student management."

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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