even the familyis able to do. At local and state levels, these pressures are strongest. As a consequence, many professional associations of teachers have kept silent on the subject of corporal punishment. The Texas State Teachers Association has avoided taking a stand. Not until this month, as a result of the Supreme Court decision, did the Texas Classroom Teachers Association and the Texas Federation of Teachers even put corporal punishment on the agenda of their board meetings. The Texas Education Agency, the official state body concerned with the training of youth, has no official position. Its legal counselor, C. E. 011ison, said that Texas law vests control over schools in the local school districts. If a parent writes to TEA complaining that a child was beaten by a teacher, a reply is sent explaining the procedure for filing assault charges under the criminal code against an individual. Four years ago, a group of Dallas parents, concerned about excessive beatings of school children, organized the National Committee to Abolish Corporal Punishment in the Public Schools. Its current campaign is directed at getting states to outlaw the practice. Now only threeMaryland, Massachusetts, and New Jerseyhave laws which prohibit corporal punishment in the schools. The committee, with the help of TCLU, tried litigation but with little success. A federal court ruled that under the Texas Constitution, the schools were in loco parentis, that is, they have the right to act as parents, which includes the right to beat as they see fit. The court also cited a 19th century remnant of the Texas Constitution, still in effect, which gives a “master the right to beat a servant,” a “husband the right to beat his wife,” and “a teacher the right to beat a student.” In view of subsequent court decisions, it is only the last of these which still carries any legitimacy. Nat Hentoff comments, “Kids are the last Americans who can be legally beaten.” As a result of the committee’s activities, the Dallas School System did modify some of its procedures, with the result that incidents of corporal punishment declined from 26,000 in the 1972-73 school year to 10,000 in 197374. Written consent of the parent is now required as well as a modicum of due process, in which the child’s rights are explained and an opportunity is provided to hear the child’s side. “Like an arrest,” Dallas School Superintendent Nolan Estes told The Nation 16 The Texas Observer reporter, who commented, “It is easy for some school administrators to equate student misbehavior with crimes.” Opponents of corporal punishment are not satisfied with the procedural protections provided by the school system. Following the Oct. 20 Supreme Court decision, the TCLU widely disseminated its recommendation that aggrieved parents lodge assaultagainst-a-minor charges against individuals who strike their children. Henry Albach said there was a reduction in the number of beatings in Dallas schools following this announcement. The TCLU, which receives about four complaints a month, is currently preparing the case of its client David Morris, a teenager who suffers from epilepsy and heart disease. David has been the manager of the football team at Belton Junior High School in Belton. The football coach \(who knew of his ailin a group of a dozen members of the team who received beatings for poor academic work. Because David had flunked art, he came home bruised. His mother, frantic about the effects of such treatment on his frail health, appealed to TCLU for legal relief in the hope of future protection. Schiefflin said that the new Supreme Court ruling makes it difficult to litigate these cases unless severe physical damage is incurred, even in the case of a sickly child. Now that defendants are to be individual teachers, school districts are freer than ever to establish whipping policies and practices of child management without running afoul of the law. The administrative goal of order remains, and the beleaguered teachers carry both the burdens and the responsibilities for how order is maintained. It should come as a surprise to no one if the result is greater anger among teachers and a consequent rise in anger among their students. The court decision has left students and teachers facing each other as adversaries. Lobbyist . . . Winfree, a big, good-looking man \(beefy, around the capitol. A Senate honcho said Winfree mostly worked the House and a House honcho said he mostly worked the Senate. More impartial observers recall that he mostly worked in the rotunda between the houses. He said in his deposition, “Since I have been a lobbyist, I have never spent my money for the three B’s, no blondes or bourbon.” Margaret Mayer, of The Dallas Times Herald’s Washington bureau was puzzled as to what the third B could be: been out of Texas too longbeef, Margaret, buying steaks. In 1972, the Austin Club, a downtown businessman’s club, elected Winfree Man of the Year. “Harris was a ticket man,” said the Senate liberal. “Always buy a ticket to your appreciation dinner. Not a big block of ticketsa ticket. We always had tickets in those days. Tickets to your governor-for-aday. You laugh on his buying flowers and coffee urns for the secretaries. You wonder how the oil companies operate? I’ll tell you. He would get all the secretaries sweet on him. Then he’d stop by, chat, say, ‘You say your boss man will be out of town next Wednesday? Has to practice some law in South Texas? Too bad, we had little luncheon planned.’ And they go and bring up that bad ol’ bill when they know all the libs are gonna be out of town, see? That’s what it’s all for.” Ben Barnes, former lieutenant governor, unlike most incumbent officeholders, did not recoil from the suggestion that he might have received some of Winfree’s corporate largesse. “I don’t know if I did,” he said. “We’ll check it for you. It’s my recollection that Winfree was not a big roller. He wasn’t an Abington [Bill, of oil and gas lobby fame: one of the heavy heavies]. He might have given to my appreciation dinners. He was a fifty or hundred dollar man. A lunch or a hundred-dollar appreciation man. He was also a candy-to-the-secretaries man.” So here you have a portrait of your lowlevel lobbyist at work. Not a high roller: headlines aside, Winfree was not a big money lobbyist. Not feared for his acumen; generally condescended to as being not terribly bright. But a lot of them like him. Because he was Joe Ed’s boy, because he was always around, because he paid those nice, small attentions. Five thousand dollars a year can go fast on governor-for-a-day tickets, fifty-hundred dollar appreciations, candy, flowers, coffee urns and Dixie cups. Maybe there’s a difference between a $17 coffee urn for the secretaries and a set of new tires–Winfree’s deposition also mentioned tires and anti-freeze and the oil you use on your shotgun in hunting season. Maybe there’s a difference between accepting a $17 coffee urn for a bunch of hard-working gals who will really appreciate it and accepting a set of new tires. How much difference? Where’s the line? At a two-dollar can of shotgun oil? Someone, probably Dugger, will have to investigate and pronounce on this particular area of pre-Sharpstown morality. M.I. Ho, ho, ho The Observer is taking a week off for Christmas. The next issue will be printed in three weeks instead of two weeks. Happy holidays, y’all. Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 600 West 7, Austin, TX 78701.
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