Mom Forced to Watch As Her 5-Year-Old Is Paddled by School Principal (VIDEO)

paddled boyBe prepared: The following story (and accompanying video) will likely make you feel completely outraged, if not downright sickened. A Georgia elementary school principal not only paddled a 5-year-old boy, but she also told his mom that if she tried to stop the paddling, the boy would be suspended and the mom would go to jail! Since she couldn't intervene, the mom filmed the incident and posted two videos (before the paddling and after) to Facebook, sparking immediate and widespread controversy.

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In a post accompanying the video, Shana Marie Perez, of Covington, Georgia, wrote that she "couldn't do anything to stop them" from paddling her son Thomas ("them" being school principal Pam Edge and assistant principal Lynn McElheney).

"They told me if he could not get a paddling he would have to be suspended and if he got suspended for even one day I WILL go to jail for truancy," she wrote. "I could not go to jail or my kids would have nothing."

More from The Stir: Discipline in Schools: 8 Facts About Teachers Beating Kids (Yes, It's Legal!)

At the time of the paddling, school administrators had already had Perez arrested for truancy (Thomas had over 18 absences and 20 incidences of tardiness this year due to undisclosed medical issues). Perez, who was out on bond, was naturally so intimidated by the prinicipal's threats of suspension and further arrest that she felt she had no choice but to stand by and watch her child's punishment -- even though the little boy's cries must have been literally breaking her heart in two. You can see the moments leading up to the paddling here, but remember, this is a highly disturbing watch:

Good lord. As a mom, this literally makes me want to throw up. That poor little boy -- and by little boy, I mean LITTLE BOY. What could this very small child possibly have done to warrant a paddling by two adults? It's a sick, sick spectacle, and I can't even imagine what Perez was feeling as she was forced to stand by and listen while her son screamed for help.

Shockingly, corporal punishment in schools is perfectly legal in Georgia (as well as in other states), but it's only supposed to happen if parents give their consent -- which Perez clearly did not give. (In fact, the mom says she's pretty sure she signed a form at the beginning of the school year forbidding her son from receiving corporal punishment, but school administrators dispute this.)

More from The Stir: Of Course This Mom Is Furious That Her 5-Year-Old Got Paddled at School

Either way, the threats made by the principal were completely empty, according to Jasper County Sheriff Donnie Pope. In a statement to NBC News, Pope said that Perez "would NOT have been re-arrested for the suspension in question ... The sheriff's office would not have pursued criminal charges based on the fact that an out of school suspension would not have shown negligence on the part of Ms. Perez since OSS absences are not within the parent's control. After reviewing the facts of this case, no probable cause exists to substantiate the commission of a crime."

Paddling a 5-year-old without his mother's permission, on the other hand, sounds a lot like a crime to me. Personally, I can't even begin to wrap my head around the fact that corporal punishment in schools is legal at all, particularly when there have been so many, many studies showing that corporal punishment hurts kids instead of helping them. This shouldn't even be a debate anymore, but here we are, in 2016, still dealing with people in positions of authority who are hell-bent on ignoring what science is telling us and insisting that a good old-fashioned beating is the only way to teach kids a lesson -- and then, in this case, bullying parents into complying. It's a travesty.

For their part, the Jasper County School District has said that they are barred by state and federal law to comment on the specifics of this case, but that the incident is being investigated. We can only hope that these school administrators are forced to reconsider their actions, and that the publicity this paddling has received saves other kids from suffering the same fate. It's time for these outdated corporal punishment policies to change!

 

Image via NBC News

 

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