The new school board president in the Irving Independent School District sparked a controversy when he scheduled a vote on once again allowing corporal punishment in schools, then pulled the item from Monday’s agenda without explanation.
“There was no input by staff and superintendent,” says the former board president, Ronda Huffstetler, who left the board last month. “This showed up on the agenda with no policy meeting, it didn’t even go through our district attorney.”
Like many school districts in Texas, the Irving ISD allowed corporal punishment until a few years ago, when it joined many others in North Texas in banning it.
“The eagerness to sue. And that’s what probably pushed us to this decision is how eager people are to sue,” says Huffstetler. “We wanted to protect our principals, our teachers and our students from somebody having the ability to do it.”
“I voted to take it out and I would still stand firm on not bringing it back”, says Huffstetler. “There is other ways to discipline these children.”
The current board vice president agrees that any proposal to lift the ban needs to be carefully considered.
“The proposal should go to policy committee for review and recommendations” says Vice President of Irving ISD Board of Trustees Larry Stipes. “In this specific case, I feel we need a great deal of input from our campus administrators, who would bear the responsibility of "enforcing" this policy, our parents, who should be allowed to voice their opinions, pro or con and our citizens, who we represent.”
“This process should not be rushed” says Stipes.
When asked for comment, board president Steven Jones responded by email saying “There is no story. The item has been removed from the agenda.”
No word yet whether Jones intends to bring it up again.