School brings back controversial corporal punishment with parents' permission

Danielle Fowler
·Freelance Writer
Would you give your child’s school to consent to reintroduce corporal punishment? [Photo: Getty]

A US school has reintroduced the paddle as a form of punishment after gaining parental permission.

The George School of Innovation and the Classics in Georgia, which caters for children aged between 5 and 15, asked parents if teachers could use corporal punishment – and one-third of 100 parents consented.

According to the form, misbehaving pupils will be “taken into an office behind closed doors” for their punishment and will be expected to “place their hands on their knees or a piece of furniture to be struck on the buttocks with a paddle”.

Parents will be notified prior to the punishment and the paddle – which can be no more than 24 inches in length and six inches in width – will only ever be used a maximum of three times. Those who do not give consent for the paddle will have to allow their child to be given five days suspension.

The school’s superintendent, Jody Boulineau, told local reporters: “It’s just one more tool that we have in our disciplinary toolbox. There’s no obligation. It’s not required, so a parent can either give consent for us to use that as a disciplinary measure, or they can deny consent.”

Unsurprisingly, the decision was met with controversy as some parents took to Twitter to criticise the reintroduction of corporal punishment.

One mother wrote [sic]: “Georgia School for Innovation is paddling students?? ‘Innovation’ in their name with such barbaric punishment? Not my child! We have enough child abuse without signing parental permission slips allowing it. Blackmailing parents with a wooden board or 5 days suspension is WRONG!”

Another social media user tweeted, “Using the term ‘paddling’ makes corporal punishment seem benign. As a survivor of Catholic school, I can attest that ‘paddling’ is violence. Any adult hitting a child is unaware of the strength differential. Also it trains kids to hit and bully each other. It should be illegal”.

There are currently 19 states in America where corporal punishment is legal and according to the BBC, 160,000 students faced the controversial disciplinary method between 2011 and 2012.

States which allow physical punishment include Kansas, Florida, North Carolina and Texas to name a few.

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