Texas Mother Says Teacher Paddled Son Without Permission

A mother in DeSoto, Texas has demanded her son's school fire a teacher for paddling him without her consent.

"He's emotionally upset about going to school," said Ayanna Smith of her son.

Smith's son, Jalijah, attends The Meadows Elementary School in DeSoto. Monday, a teacher informed her that he had paddled the kindergartner during class for misbehaving with another student.

"I said, 'Well, do you know that he has a 'no paddling' slip?'" asked Smith. "No answers were given."

While the DeSoto Independent School District allows the practice of paddling, state education policy requires parents to give permission for educators to use it on their children. Smith never gave that permission, as shown on a consent form she turned into the school at the beginning of the year.

"What was so hard for you to just go and look and see?" asked Smith. "He took him into the coach's room and put him on a board and held his hands and whipped him with a wooden stick. I was baffled."

Since then, Smith has not allowed her son to go back to school. After a meeting with the school district Monday and Wednesday, Smith said she was dissatisfied by their response, which did not include disciplinary action for the teachers involved.

"I have no excuses for what occurred," said Gabrielle Lemonier, assistant superintendent of DeSoto ISD.

District policy requires the person administering punishment to always verify that consent has been given with school administration. According to Lemonier, this was not done Monday. However, the district felt new training on protocol was the best course of action.

"Right now, we just feel like we need to provide training to this particular campus to ensure that this does not occur again," Lemonier explained. "We've got to do what's in the best interest of everybody involved. To say we're just going to fire a teacher, which is what she requested yesterday, we are just not going to go that far."

NBC 5 surveyed some of the larger school districts in North Texas to see what their policy is on paddling. The Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth, Irving, Garland, Richardson and Plano school districts all do not allow the practice.

When asked why DeSoto still uses it, Lemonier said they've never had any complaints until now.

"If issues come to the forefront, where we feel like this procedure needs to be reevaluated, than more than likely that is what will occur," Lemonier said. "It's a tool. It is a last resort. In many instances, it's a last resort."

While the district may not be taking disciplinary action, Smith is considering pursuing other avenues outside of the school, including legal action.

"A teacher is there to teach, not beat a child," Smith said. "I'm aware they say it takes a village to raise a child. But it takes a teacher to teach, not beat."

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