Texas school violates policy when girl paddled by male administrator

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SPRINGTOWN — Taylor Santos is a top student and athlete at Springtown High School, northwest of Fort Worth.

"Her grades are very important to her," said her mother, Anna Jorgensen.

Taylor said she didn't know a fellow student copied some of her classwork, but the school sent both girls to two days of in-school suspension.

After day one, Taylor didn't want to return. She went to the vice principal's office to request a paddling instead. He had Taylor call her mother, who gave her approval.

"I knew school policy was females swatted females, and males swatted males," Jorgensen said. "If Taylor wanted that, I said that would be fine."

But she quickly disapproved when she saw the results and learned who actually did the paddling.

"I came unglued," Jorgensen said.

While a woman was present in the room, a male vice principal swatted Taylor. Springtown ISD policy states "corporal punishment shall be administered only by an employee who is the same sex as the student."

"It looked almost like it had been burned and blistered, it was so bad," Jorgensen said.

"It was bright red," Taylor said. "I still have welts on me today," she added, 48 hours after the paddling.

Jorgensen has photos which prove how red her daughter's bottom was.

The day after the paddling, she called the vice principal.

"He told me this was normal for her bottom to look like this after receiving swats, and that he was not aware of the school policy that females swat females," Jorgensen said. "But he used too much force."

Springtown ISD Superintendent Mike Kelley did not agree to an on-camera interview with News 8. Over the phone, he explained schools never administer corporal punishment unless a parent requests it.

While Kelley would not discuss Taylor's case in particular, he did say the district might have made an error. He also stressed two adults are always present when punishment is administered.

But we've learned the superintendent wants to do away with the current policy. At a board meeting Monday, Kelley will ask the board to get rid of the same gender requirement. He said the makeup of administrators makes adhering to that policy very difficult on some campuses.

Jorgensen is upset. She said she will be at the school board meeting to urge them to vote "no."

"I think Taylor is proof that we need to keep that policy," she said. "I don't believe a man intentionally meant to do that to her, but it still happens, because men are too big and strong to be hitting 96-pound girls."

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