Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Male Vice Principal Spanks Young Teen Girls... And It's Legal!

In the first part of my Legal Environment course, I challenge students to think about the nature of law, leading to the ultimate determination that law is made up by people. The law is not inherently just, it is just inherently human.  It suffers, as all man-made systems do, from imperfections and the results of human frailties, prejudices, mistakes and beliefs.

As an example is this news story.  Texas is one of 19 states allowing corporal punishment in schools with parental permission.  So when a sophomore girl was caught helping another student cheat, she was given a paddling by her male vice-principal. And this was not the first example.  The school system's response? It's all perfectly legal.  Which apparently, it is! But, the school system's own regulations require paddling only by an administrator of the same sex as the student. So, to make sure this doesn't happen again, the superintendent proposed to change the regulation to allow cross-gender paddling!

So, first the law is in contradiction of all science regarding child discipline, brain function and behavior modification. Second, the law ignores the inappropriate quasi-sexual elements of what would be a clear sexual assault if it was conducted by any other authority figure, say a stepfather, outside the school (or in most  anyplace outside of the state of Texas). And then, the minimal regulations that exists to temper the sting of the law are changed to encourage pseudo-sexual assault because to protect against it is inconvenient!

I don't know what is in the water in Texas, but this story on the heels of the highly publicized state Republican platform to ban the teaching of critical thinking skills in schools create for us a great teaching resource on the issue of the nature of law.  It's made up by people. And there are no requirements for lawmakers to be rational, fair, just, kind, forward thinking, intelligent, educated, or even interested in the public good.

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