With the start of a new school year, The Georgia School of Innovation and Classic, in Hephzibah, Georgia, has been thrown into the limelight. The reinstatement of corporal punishment has caused mixed views across the nation.
The charter school for grades kindergarten to ninth have sent home consent forms for paddling. Through this process, a child will be subjected to a spanking with a 24 inch long, six inch wide, ¾ inch thick wooden panel, no more than three times.
“A student will be taken into an office behind closed doors. The student will place their hands on their knees or piece of furniture and will be struck on the buttocks with a paddle,” The Georgia School of Innovation and Classic said.
While parents can deny consent, in doing so they are agreeing to up to five days suspension for a penalty one would be paddled for. As a result, a third of the parents returned the form, granting consent to corporal punishment.
The superintendent, Jody Boulineau, claims many parents have spoken out, stating their discomfort towards the idea. While others have expressed positive views on the subject.
“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,” Boulineau said.”All the way to, ‘Oh my goodness, I can’t believe you are doing that.”
Whilst a decline in corporal punishment is notable in the US, 19 states still rule the form of discipline as lawful in public schools.
According to World Corporal Punishment Research (CORPUN), this is still widespread in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi. While in Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas it is still evident in smaller, more rural towns rather than the state as a whole. Additionally, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wyoming are legally able to enforce this form of discipline, it is a minuscule amount that do so.
Furthermore, according to the Society for Research in Child Development, often times discrimination is at play. It has been shown that people of other races are subjected to more brutal punishment than those of a Caucasian child. Alongside this, boys seem to be affected more so than girls.
The Georgia School of Innovation and Classics plans to continue this form of punishment for students despite the controversy surrounding them.