SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - Lynita Lamar knows her little seven year old grandson well. "He's a typical second grader. Very active," described the grandmother who legally adopted two grandsons and raises them by herself. "He climbs trees. He falls out of trees, everything else and he's not easily bruised."
So Lamar was really surprised when at bath time she discovered, "his tail was black and blue and purple." The injury was so bad that she rushed him to the emergency room. "They wanted Tylenol gave (sic) to him and him to be on a heating pad," Lamar said.
It was the result of three swats with a paddle given by the second grader's school principal. In Texas, corporal punishment, such as swats and spanking with a paddle, is within the law. Sometimes the practice leaves a mark that surprises and then angers parents.
"This was four days after it happened," Lamar said while holding up a photograph of her son's buttocks. Pink marks were evident.
"The student was bruised. There's no doubt about that," Walter Key, the San Augustine Independent School District superintendent acknowledged.
The superintendent knows the paddling is within a state approved policy that doesn't require a principal to gain permission from anyone.
A poster hangs in the school board room listing,"Children should learn in a safe environment." The board is also adamant in using corporal punishment.
"It's not to cause injury. It's not to cause harm," Key said. When asked if he thought the child was harmed in this case, he answered, "The child is bruised." When asked if getting bruised is being harmed paused and said, "You and I not being there and not knowing the condition of the child prior to the paddling, you're asking me to understand the condition of the child prior to the paddling. I can't answer that one."
Lamar can. She's holding the district responsible. The adoptive parent wants to change board policy. "I think parents ought to be notified if their child is getting spanked, especially to the extent if there are bruises all over them," Lamar said.
Lamar has spanked her child, but she's now choosing a less physical form of punishment. She's taking away the child's Play Station.