A young mother of two is accusing school administrators of abusing her five-year-old son in their attempts to paddle him on Wednesday.
The mother, Shana Marie Perez, posted video on her Facebook page of the principal and assistant principal of her son’s school, Jasper County Primary School in Monticello, trying to paddle him.
The boy resisted and struggled to avoid being spanked with a wooden paddle on his bottom. It was the way that administrators tried to position him to receive the spanking that Perez believes constituted abuse.
Perez told 11Alive News that she has been in a long-running dispute with the principal over her son’s attendance this year. She says he’s been out sick with a medical problem for a total of 18 days, so far this school year. But she says the school had her arrested for truancy, accusing her of not having her son in school.
Perez says she is out of jail on bond, and on Wednesday was at the school when the administrators tried to paddle her son once, for a discipline issue.
According to Perez, the principal told her that if Perez tried to intervene, her son would be suspended, and Perez feared that if her son missed another day of school her bond would be revoked and she would have to go back to jail, miss work, and be unable to care for her children.
So Perez pretended to text on her phone while the administrators were preparing to paddle her son, but she was really making a video of what they were doing, and that is the video that she posted on her Facebook page.
The video had been viewed about half-a-million times by Thursday afternoon, with hundreds of comments.
Perez says she has a meeting scheduled with administrators on Friday. She told 11Alive News that at the beginning of the school year she signed a form stating that she was not giving the school permission to administer corporal punishment, but that administrators are saying they did have permission to do so.
Officials from the Jasper County Schools posted a statement on their website late Thursday in response to inquires about the incident:
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.
Georgia law outlaws abuse, but it does allow school systems to decide for themselves whether to administer corporal punishment, within specific guidelines and limitations, and with parental consent. 11Alive found that almost half of the school districts in Georgia still practice corporal punishment.
During the 2014-2015 school year -- the most recent data available -- 94 of the state's 197 school districts and charter schools reported at least one incident of corporal punishment. Corporal punishment was administered a total of 11,178 times that year in those school districts.
Most Metro Atlanta school districts reported zero incidents of corporal punishment in the 2014-2015 school year, including the counties of Cobb, Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Rockdale, Henry, Fayette, Douglas, Paulding, Forsyth, Cherokee, Hall, and Gwinnett, and the cities of Atlanta, Decatur, Marietta, Gainesville, Cartersville, Rome and Carrollton. (Check here for full searchable database). Carroll County reported 57 incidents, Floyd County had 2, and Bartow County had one.