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LETTER: School discipline, the old-fashioned way

In 1967, Mel and I were going fisticuffs with each other in the locker area at the new Cashman Jr. High School. Mr. Woods, the counselor, stopped the fight. We did a “perp walk” to the assistant principal’s office.

He was a no-nonsense retired Air Force officer who offered us a deal. He would inform our parents, who would have to pick us up from school, and impose a substantial suspension from Cashman along with probation and extra written work before we were allowed back. Or, he would give us each a whack across our respective butts with his oak paddle, with air holes in it to allow a true and uninterrupted swing. Two whacks “if you flinch,” he said as he smiled and reached for the paddle.

Mel went first, bent over the couch, looking straight ahead. He collapsed into the couch when it came, arose silently with tears in his eyes, rubbing his backside with his hands.

I did not flinch. The tears ran to my mouth and chin while my hands automatically rubbed my cheeks. ”Good choices, boys, good choices” the assistant principal said about the conclusion of his successful plan to quickly punish and stop future bad behavior by two 14-year-old knuckleheads.

Mel went on to a career leading and inspiring young men while coaching championship basketball at Las Vegas High School. I became an elected leader of working men and woman as president of Teamsters Local 995 in Las Vegas.

I am a Blue Dog Democrat and find common ground with Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo on this issue and Assembly Bill 330. For my Democratic friends in Carson City and the leadership of the Clark County School District: Vote and support this bill. Two if you flinch.

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