ST. LOUIS– Police in Florida are investigating after a principal initiated corporal punishment by paddling a student. The girl’s mother captured the incident on video and it has now gone viral.
Paddling is a type of discipline called corporal punishment. It is legal in 19 states including Missouri. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) outlines the corporal punishment policy in the state. A school board must adopt a policy before the form of discipline could be used.
Here is what the DESE website says about Corporal Punishment and Spanking.
State statute requires all public school boards, as part of the district’s written discipline policy, to include a statement on the use of corporal punishment within the district. If the district uses corporal punishment as a form a discipline, the local board of education must adopt a policy regarding the use and administration of corporal punishment. This policy may also address the question of whether a parent will be notified prior to the use of corporal punishment or whether the parent may elect an alternative form of student discipline (usually out-of-school suspension).Corporal Punishment/Spanking section of DESE website
While Florida is one of the states where corporal punishment is legal, it is not allowed in the school district where the incident happened.
The Hendry County School District says its policy states “the superintendent shall designate sanctions or the infraction of rules, excluding corporal punishment.”
NewsNation has reached out to the Hendry County School District but has not received a response. The district has told other media outlets “no comment.”
Louisiana failed to pass a bid to ban paddling and other forms of corporal punishment in public schools. The state’s current law allows the state’s 69 school districts to decide whether or not to implement it.