The citizens of Temple, Texas have reinstituted corporal punishment for students in the form of paddling for everything from skipping classes to wearing inappropriate clothing. In the meantime, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), has stated her intention to pass legislation banning the practice — a proposal that could raise some serious constitutional issues.
Texas is already the paddling leader nationwide — one-fourth of students who received paddling in 2006 were in the Lone Star state.
Various states still allow for paddling and in 2006 there were an estimated 225,000 students who received corporal punishment. However, thirty states outlaw paddling, which is strongly opposed by educational and child development experts.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) held a hearing this week on banning paddling. This could raise another federalism issue and highlights the implications of the broad claim of federal authority contained in the health care legisation, here.
While I have not seen the current version of the bill, it could raise many of the same problems that led to the Supreme Court striking down laws in Lucas and Morrison. United States v. Alfonso Lopez, Jr., , 514 U.S. 549 (1995), is particularly interesting in this context. There the Court struck down the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 (the “Act”), 18 U.S.C. § 922(q) as intruding into state power.
For the full story, click here.