Georgia school brings back paddling to discipline students

HEPHZIBAH, GA — A charter school in Georgia is bringing back an old-fashioned form of discipline, and many parents are up in arms about it.

The superintendent for Georgia School for Innovation and the Classics, a K through 9 charter school, tells WDRW they 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,” Superintendent Jody Boulineau told WDRW.

So they’re going old school with a new policy this year: paddling as a form of discipline.

“It’s just one more tool that we have in our disciplinary toolbox,” said Boulineau.

Parents got a “consent to paddle form” asking if they’re ok with administrators hitting their child with a wooden paddle.

“There’s no obligation. It’s not required, so a parent can either give consent for us to use that as a disciplinary measure, or they can deny consent,” Boulineau said.

The form spells it out: The students will be taken to 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.

Boulineau says the parent response has been across the board.

“Great! It’s about time. We’re so glad that this is happening again. They should never have taken it out of school. All the way to oh my goodness, I can’t believe you’re doing that,” Boulineau said.

If parents opt out of paddling, they have to agree to up to five days of suspension.

“Honestly we feel that 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,” Boulineau said.

Less than a third of the parents who have responded have reportedly given consent for their kids to be paddled.

The school says it will use a “three strike” policy, meaning the paddling doesn’t happen until the third offense.