Georgia school brings back paddling

Published: Sep. 11, 2018 at 8:29 AM CDT
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A Georgia school is bringing back paddling as a form of discipline. More than 100 consent forms have been returned to the school, with a third of parents giving their approval.

“In this school, we take discipline very seriously,” said Jody Boulineau, superintendent of Georgia School for Innovation and the Classics, a K through 9 charter school.

GSIC is going old school with a new policy for this year.

"There was a time where corporal punishment was kind of the norm in school and you didn't have the problems that you have,” the superintendent said. "It's just one more tool that we have in our disciplinary toolbox that we can use.”

Parents got a "consent to paddle form" asking them if they're ok with administrators hitting their child with a wooden paddle.

"There's no obligation, it's not required. A parent can either give consent for us to use that as a disciplinary measure or they can deny consent," he said.

The form spells it out: 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 form says no more than three licks should be given. Superintendent Boulineau says the parent response has been across the board.

"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.'"

It's a controversial policy that hasn't been around for years. If parents opt out of paddling, they have to agree to up to 5 days of suspension.

"I honestly feel like it's something that's not going to be used very often. Sometimes it's just kind of the threat of it being there becomes a deterrent in itself."

Paddling is actually still legal in Georgia and 19 other states, but it's rare for a school to have a policy for it.