A playful tradition has been slapped down at Alvord Elementary School in Alvord, Texas. Students at the school will no longer receive light-hearted birthday spankings. Principal Bridget Williams, who has been doling out the spankings for the last eight years, will be handing out high fives or hugs instead, reports the Star Telegram. In April, the school sent a letter to parents explaining the tradition and detailed how to opt out of the spankings by sending a handwritten note to the school, reports the Dallas Morning News. "When we celebrate each child and their special day all parties are in the main office in front of the camera," the letter noted. "There are no off camera celebrations and there are always other adults in the office celebrating with us all."
The kids received a spank for each year as well as candy and a special pencil. Alvord ISD superintendent Randy Brown said in a statement that the school had received three complaints about the spanking tradition, and that the decision to cease the paddling was made by Williams, but Brown supports the decision. Still, many parents defend the spankings, and some, like Jessica Meador, are a bit baffled over the decision. If the kids had been bothered by it, says Meador, "they would've brought it up way before now." Another says that perhaps newer members of the community aren't used to small-town life: As Heather Redder puts it, "People that move here from the big city—they don't realize, and they're not used to this."