Nothing below the breastbone, nor six inches above the knee. Violate that precept at senior prom in Oxford, Alabama, as about 25 students did this year, and your choice is suspension or paddling. Corporal punishment: Still legal in 20 states!
The suspension numbers reported The Anniston Star (where — fun fact! — I worked for a time after college) are slightly contradicted by a television report, which puts the number of suspended students at 18, saying 17 of them chose paddling. An exception was Erica Deramous, who told a local affiliate carried by CNN they were too old to be spanked and that this is no longer the 1940s.
"The next step in this parade is the 'RACE CARD,'" wrote one commenter on the Star article. Perhaps, although other comments indicate that white students were also disciplined. Oxford is about 90 percent white, a town of subdivisions and strip malls fortified by white flight from Anniston.
But one thing is clear: There is no greater threat to our children than the sight of some upper thigh, or the few inches of breast above a sequined dress. Bring on the paddle.