Editor's Note: The video of this incident will likely be disturbing for many viewers.
How far is too far when it comes to punishing kids at school? That's the question on many minds after video of a child being paddled went viral. Two clips, posted on Shana Marie Perez's Facebook Page, show the incident--you can hear the boy, age five, crying and pleading with the grownups. He even tries to protect his bottom with his hands.
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As reported by NBC News, a Georgia elementary school principal insisted on the paddling. Perez says the principal told her if she tried to intervene her son would be suspended and she would go to jail.
Shana Marie Perez, of Covington, Ga., posted two videos on Facebook showing the Wednesday dispute at Jasper Primary School, southeast of Atlanta, along with her son's efforts to resist.
"I couldn't do anything to stop them," Perez wrote in a post accompanying one of the videos."
Since the video and news story started spreading, Perez (via her Facebook Page) reports receiving both supportive messages and tirades from strangers calling her a bad mother.
Almost half the school districts Georgia state allow the practice of corporal punishment, NBC Atlanta affiliate WXIA reported.
Corporal punishment in Kansas & Missouri schools
Many states have outlawed spanking or corporal punishment in public schools.
Last year, there was a bill to outlaw it in Missouri. But today, it’s still allowed in both Missouri and Kansas.
According to Missouri law, individual school districts get to decide whether or not to use corporal punishment.
In the small town of Ironton, Missouri, about 90 miles south of St. Louis, Arcadia Middle School, for example, allows paddling in some instances. According to school policy, the swats must be on the buttocks and administered in the principal’s office in the presence of a faculty witness. Students have the right to refuse swats. Parents can also make a written request each year to prevent paddling of their children.
In Alton, just north of the Arkansas state line, elementary students may get spanked after a second or third referral for classroom misbehavior. High school students are given a choice between paddling and suspension for certain offenses.
In Kansas, the law doesn’t specifically address the use of corporal punishment. But it does allow for limited use of physical force by teachers and administrators against students as a form of punishment.
A 2014 proposal by Kansas lawmakers would’ve made it legal to leave bruises or red marks, but it never advanced in the legislature.
In the metro Kansas City area, the 41 Action News Investigators were unable to find any school districts using corporal punishment.
Andy Alcock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.