The following was included in TCTA's 2016-17 Survival Guide, the ultimate reference tool for Texas educators, and is current as of September 2016 but is subject to change. The information below is for information purposes only, and is not intended to substitute for advice from an attorney.
Corporal punishment is defined as deliberate infliction of physical pain by hitting, paddling, spanking, slapping or any other physical force used as a means of discipline. It does not include physical pain caused by reasonable physical activities associated with athletic training, competition or physical education. It also does not include the use of restraint (subject to state law and TEA rules, see Restraint of Students With Disabilities).
Educators may use corporal punishment only if the board of trustees has adopted a policy allowing the use of corporal punishment, unless the student’s parent, guardian or other person having lawful control over the student has previously provided a written, signed statement prohibiting the use of corporal punishment for the student. Such a statement must be provided each school year. If you administer corporal punishment, comply strictly with your district’s policy, because it is a potential area of liability for educators.
Use of force
A professional employee may not be subject to disciplinary proceedings for the use of reasonable force against a student to the extent justified under Section 9.62 of the Texas Penal Code. This provision allows an educator to use nondeadly force “when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is necessary to further the special purpose or to maintain discipline in a group.” A professional employee may be disciplined for violating a district’s policy relating to corporal punishment, but may not be disciplined for using reasonable force for such actions as breaking up a fight.