AUSTIN, Texas, May 23 (UPI) -- A bill pending in the Texas legislature would require school districts to obtain written permission from parents before using corporal punishment on children.
Texas is one of 19 states that permit the practice, and out of more than 1,000 districts, fewer than 100 prohibit the practice outright, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported Sunday.
It's difficult to know exactly how many students receive corporal punishment, since neither the Texas Education Agency nor the Texas Association of School Boards keeps count, the newspaper said.
Supporters say the proposed law would safeguard parental rights while opponents insist it would take a crucial element of local control out of the hands of public schools.
An amendment to the bill that would exempt counties with fewer than 50,000 residents reflects a divide on how corporal punishment is viewed in the state by rural districts and urban and suburban ones.
Most large cities and their surrounding communities generally have moved away from the punishments, while smaller communities continue to embrace it as a symbol of traditional values, educators said.