Texas doesn't peddle paddles

As a Baltimore native and former 25-year Texas resident who has recently returned to Maryland, please allow me to correct Susan Reimer's misrepresentation of Texas public schools ("From the land of Rick Perry, the proud paddlers," Oct. 8).

Texas public schools are regulated by local school districts called Independent School Districts. Each district makes its own rules. Some have zero tolerance policies that have led to 7-year-olds being suspended for their haircuts or hugging other students. Other, mainly rural districts, have corporal punishment policies. The use of corporal punishment is decided by each. The craziest rules most often occur in the smaller districts. It is unfair to paint the entire state as child abusers for the actions of a tiny minority.

There are plenty of reasons to condemn Texas public schools, but to condemn the entire state for the actions of one tiny school district for a town of under 2,700 is not realistic. Not far away from Springtown is the city of White Settlement. You might as well condemn the entire state of Texas for racism based on the name of that one place.

If you were to write a column condemning the state's attempts at voter suppression with voter photo ID laws or their gerrymandering of Congressional districts to prevent the emerging Hispanic majority from representation, I'd be with you. But there are 26 million Texans, and the actions of less than a tiny fraction of 1 percent is a little much to condemn the entire state education system. The state's largest population centers (Houston, Dallas/Ft Worth, El Paso, Austin and San Antonio) are reliably much more liberal than the rest of the state. Ms. Reimer's brush is too broad. Many more Texans agree with her views on paddling in schools than don't. So don't mess with Texas unless you have all the facts.

Mark Salditch, Pikesville

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