Quote of the Day - It becomes a shock to them when they get a notice from the school saying my child's truant and especially if their child really doesn't have an attendance problem or issues.
Perhaps an obvious exaggeration, but I did walk uphill home. It was more of a gradual hill, not too tough. Except in the snow, when it was not only bitter cold, but also slippery because of the ice under the snow. But I'm off track here.
We all remember our youth as more difficult than kids have it these days. If you're like me, then you've probably gotten one of those viral "do-you-remember-the-good-old-days" emails from one of your buddies. Some of it's true, most of it is the little white lies we tell ourselves, like walking to school uphill. It's fun to reminisce, but even more fun to tease your kids with how hard you had it.
But do kids nowadays have it easier than we do?
Let's look at corporal punishment - or in the parlance - spanking. In my father's house, a belt and lowered pants were involved, resulting in a few red welts to drive home whatever point I needed to understand. I don't think that qualified as spanking. On the other hand, it was something less than a Pirates-of-the-Caribbean flogging. My dad said it best: "You're going to get a whipping, young man."
And it hurt. And I was embarrassed.
So, what did Cameron County, Texas Justice of the Peace Gustavo Garza do wrong? He's being sued by the parents of a 15-year-old girl whose stepfather was given the choice of paying a $500 fine or paddling the girl in open court for skipping school. Garza even provided the paddle.
In the first place, the girl was in court as a truant - she skipped school, and the parents were there, too, because they apparently couldn't control the kid and make her stay in school.
To be sure, a judge can't order parents to spank their child - the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct says so. Garza, on the other hand, makes this distinction: he offered spanking as an alternative, not an order. The parents see it the other way around: since they can't afford the $500, spanking was their only option.
Garza said he offered the paddle in response to other parents' complaints that they had lost control of their children and were afraid of the consequences for spanking them at home.
In their lawsuit against the Justice of the Peace, the parents claim mental anguish and embarrassment and want an injunction stopping Garza from offering the punishment. Garza is facing a hearing before another judge on the lawsuit, which likely won't get resolved anytime soon.
You be the judge: should the Justice of the Peace be allowed to offer parents to spank their truant child in return for waiving the fine?
June 12 update:
Judge Garza has been ordered to stop offering the paddling as an alternative to fines, pending the outcome of his trial, which has not yet been set. Since injunctions are only issued when there's a likelihood of success on the merits, this outcome of Judge Garza being banned from offering paddling is now almost a foregone conclusion.