JASPER COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - A Georgia mother said she's upset that her son had to be paddled as a part of disciplinary actions at his school - and she posted the videos of the incident to social media.
The mother, Shana Perez, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that her 5-year-old son, Thomas, a student at Jasper County Primary School, was being disciplined for allegedly spitting on a student after he tried to hit a different student.
Perez was told by school administrators that he would be suspended from school if he were not paddled, so she allowed the paddling to occur. Perez said that she was afraid she would go back to jail if Thomas missed any more days of school.
The mother told the newspaper that she was booked into Jasper County Jail two weeks ago for truancy, after her son missed 18 days of school this school year for doctor's appointments. Perez said she believed the absences should be excused, and told several television stations in Atlanta that the child was absent due to tests for possible cancer.
The video was posted on April 13 to Facebook.
"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...Jasper County made me do this," she wrote. "I could not go to jail or my kids would have nothing. I can't take care of my kids in jail. And I was not texting I was recording this. I couldn't do anything to stop them."
In the first video, it shows Jasper County Primary School Principal Pam Edge and assistant principal Lynn McElheney preparing to paddle the child by telling him to hold on to a chair in her office. One administrator paddled him while the other held his arms; the boy could be heard asking his mother to help him as he cried.
Before he was paddled, one of the administrators asks Perez, "What does he do with dad? Does he spank him? Just curious," referencing discipline at home.
"He just takes hit hat off and [swats] at his leg, or something, Perez responds.
WARNING: This video could be difficult for some to watch.
The second video shows the brief aftermath: the child crying and the school administrators trying to calm him down. One of the administrators ask Perez "not to love on him" as he ran to his mother for comfort.
Perez told the AJC she pretended to text on her cell phone as she recorded video and did not interfere.
Perez has posted two videos, both of which have been shared more than 15,000 times.
In the Jasper County Primary School parent and student handbook listed online, corporal punishment is listed as an action under the school's "code of conduct and progressive discipline plan."
Perez told the AJC that she knew the school listed paddling as a form of discipline, but signed a form at the beginning of the school year not permitting it "under any circumstances."
When asked about the video via email. Jasper County Schools Superintendent Mike Newton, Ed.D wrote:
We've reached out Perez for a comment, and we've yet to hear a response.
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