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Paddling as punishment? Georgia school district revives controversial disciplinary measure

A Georgia school is garnering national headlines after reportedly deciding to use paddling as a form of punishment for students.

The Georgia School of Innovation and the Classics (GSIC), in Hephzibah, sent consent forms to parents, allowing them to either opt-in or out of having their children paddled when the school deems the disciplinary “tool” appropriate, WDRW reports.

Superintendent Jody Boulineau told the news station that the kindergarten through ninth grade school is choosing the harsh punishment measure as way to curb problems she believe could be the result of too-lax discipline.

“In this school, we take discipline very seriously. There was a time where corporal punishment was kind of the norm in school and you didn’t have the problems that you have.”

Paddling involves spanking a child on their backside with a wooden board as a form of discipline. According to Boulineau, approximately 100 parents have sent back the document, with one-third giving consent to paddle their kids.

The form, obtained by the news station, details what will happen should a pupil be subject to the disciplinary action:

“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 document indicates that students will be spanked after their third offense with a paddle that measures 24 inches in length and six inches in width—adding that “no more than three licks should be given.”

“It’s just one more tool that we have in our disciplinary toolbox that we can use,” Boulineau told the news station.

The superintendent said she has received varying feedback regarding the new measure from parents.

“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,” she said.

Parents not allowing the school to paddle their children were reportedly told they must agree to the alternative of suspending the kids for up to five days.

According to the Washington Post, 19 states, including Georgia, still allow corporal punishment to be implemented in schools.