A Jasper County, Georgia, mother is upset and furious after school administrators reportedly paddled her young son for misbehaving in school (video below).
Shana Marie Perez told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that two administrators at Jasper County Primary School, Principal Pam Edge and Assistant Principal Lynn McElheney, spanked her 5-year-old son, Thomas, with a paddle on April 11. According to Perez, the punishment was administered because her son tried to punch a classmate and then spit on another.
"He ended up spitting on somebody so [Edge] wanted to paddle him," Perez said.
Although Perez was present during the paddling, she said she was helpless to intervene because school officials told her that if she objected, the boy would be suspended. Perez, who had been arrested on truancy charges two weeks before the spanking, feared that she would go back to jail if her son received another suspension.
Perez said she was jailed because her son had previously missed 18 days of school for doctors' appointments.
"I could not go to jail or my kids would have nothing," she wrote in a Facebook post.
Perez said she knew the Jasper County School District allowed corporal punishment, but she had signed a form at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year prohibiting school staff from paddling her son under any circumstances, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The woman secretly recorded the incident on her cell phone while pretending to text. She later posted the video to her Facebook page along with the post on April 13.
In the 2-minute clip, Edge and McElheney are seen instructing Thomas to stand with his hands on the arm of a chair and struggling to hit him in the buttocks with a wooden paddle as he cried and wriggled around.
At one point in the video, the boy wails, "Mommy, help me!" to which the principal responds: "Nope, Momma can't help. Momma might help if she stood outside the door."
The Facebook post has been viewed over 2 million times and shared over 40,000 times in two days.
Facebook users responding to the video expressed sympathy for the mother and her son.
"Go to jail or not I wouldn't let a b---- even touch my kid , especially with a damn paddle," one poster wrote.
Perez told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the school allowed Thomas to stay home on April 14, the day after the paddling, and counted it as an excused absence.
School officials published this statement on the district's website in response to Perez's Facebook video:
The Jasper County School District is aware of the video released by Ms. Perez. 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.