The Georgia School of Innovation and the Classics is in hot water after introducing a new policy that would allow paddling as a way to punish students. GSIC, a kindergarten-through-9th-grade charter school located in Hephzibah, Georgia, sent children home with consent forms to notify parents of the new approach as well as sign off if they approved. In an interview with local CBS-affiliate WDRW, Superintendent Jody Boulineau said that approximately 1/3 of the 100 parents that sent back forms gave consent for their child to be paddled.
"In this school, we take discipline very seriously," Boulineau said. "There was a time where corporal punishment was kind of the norm in school and you didn't have the problems that you have. It's just one more tool that we have in our disciplinary toolbox that we can use,"
Parents who decline the new corporal punishment must permit the school to suspend their child, with suspensions lasting up to five days. If they do agree, the forms sent home clearly outline the process used for paddling. "The student will be taken into an office and a door closed. The student will place their hands on their knees or piece of furniture and will be struck on the buttocks with a paddle." Students are eligible for paddling after getting in trouble three times in a row. The documents also list specifications for the paddle, saying that it should not be larger than 24 inches in length, six inches in width, and 3/4 inches in thickness. Lastly, it notes that the paddling must be done by an administrator in front of an "adult witness."
Superintendent Jody Boulineau said feedback from parents at GSIC has been mixed. "I've heard, 'Great, it's about time, we're so glad that this is happening again, they should've never taken it out of schools.' All the way to, 'Oh my goodness, I can't believe you are doing that,'" he said.
Reactions on social media sites such as Twitter have seen a similarly wide range of responses, from supporters like @angel_lovelady who agreed that "the younger generation needs the beatings we got as kids,"
Then there are critics like @geauxturk who warned, "Touch my child and prepare yourself for retaliation! I don't care if the parent consents. Corporal punishment does NOT WORK!"
Although paddling is seen as a controversial policy that has not been used widely in schools for years, it is still legal in Georgia and 18 other states. Those states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. Though multiple studies have shown that corporal punishment is not as effective as many may think, these states face resistance in overturning their existing legislature anytime soon. In an age when some have taken to reminiscing about the (often unsound) ideals of the past, do you think more schools and parents are going to begin actively using corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure? Do you or anyone you know have any experience with such physical punishment? Is it worth it? Let us know in the comments down below!
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