Principal paddles kindergartner, ignites outrage online

Mom says she 'couldn't do anything'

Principal paddles kindergartner, sparks outrage online
Principal paddles kindergartner, sparks outrage online (WSB/CNN)

JASPER COUNTY, Ga. (WFLA) – A Georgia elementary school principal insisted on paddling a five-year-old student — and told the boy’s mother that if she tried to intervene he would be suspended and she would go to jail, the boy’s mom told NBCNews.com

On Wednesday, Shana Perez posted two videos of the principal at Jasper County Primary School attempting to paddle her son, Thomas — after reportedly spitting on a fellow student. Perez says she only agreed to it to avoid ‘jail,’ WSB reported.

“I couldn’t do anything to stop them,” Perez said in a post accompanying the first video she recorded of the incident.

In the videos, the school administrator can be seen walking into the room saying ‘this is my paddle.’  Perez’s son can be seen crying and resisting as the administrator tells him she’s going to ‘hit your behind.’

The kindergartner can be overheard saying ‘don’t spank me,’ as the mother records the event unfolding on her cell phone.

“I know it was horrible at the time. When I went back and actually watched the video, I was in tears,” Perez said. “He was crying. Holding his hands over his butt, trying to get away. Wanting his mommy.”

The videos have been shared more than 38,000 times and have been viewed more than a million times, according to NBC News.

Jasper County Sheriff Donnie Pope said Perez had been recently arrested after her son missed 18 days of school, but says the principal was not holding more jail time over her head.

The school district does allow corporal punishment, but only if a parent consents to it. Perez now says she shouldn’t have given consent.

“He’s five. He’s not the best child. He’s probably worse than some other people’s children. It’s not the way we’re raising him. We haven’t raised him to be bad,” Perez said.

The school district acknowledged they are aware of the videos release.

“Unfortunately, the District is barred by State and Federal law from commenting about the specifics of this incident. The District respects every student’s right to privacy. However, we can speak generally about the District’s code of conduct which allows corporal punishment as one of the consequences for behavior. That code of conduct is provided to all parents. When corporal punishment is used, it is with parental consent. The District is investigating the incident and looking into its’ discipline policies at this time.”

While the state of Georgia bans abuse, it allows school districts to make decisions on corporal punishment, WXIA reported. 

School administrators are expected to meet with Perez and her son on Friday.

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