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Parents in Cassville, Missouri wanted a form of discipline for students other than suspension, so the local school district announced that kids can be paddled instead this school year.
Cassville School District Superintendent Dr. Merlyn Johnson told local KOLR that the district made the decision after they surveyed parents last year.
“The complaints that we have heard from some of our parents is that they don’t want their students suspended. They want another option,” Johnson told the station. “And so, this was just another option that we could use before we get to that point of suspension.”
The superintendent said paddling will only be done by school administrators and with another certified school employee in the room. It is unclear what would happen if a student resisted.
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Fox News reached out to Johnson for more information, but he did not immediately respond.
Not everyone is on board with paddling. Miranda Waltrip, who has three children attending Cassville public schools, told KOLR that she thinks it is a misguided approach based on the discipline adults faced when they were children.
“We live in a really small community where people were raised a certain way, and they’re kind of blanketed in that fact that they grew up having discipline and swats,” she said. “And so, for them, it’s like going back to the good old days, but it’s not because it’s going to do more harm than good at the end of the day.”
In 2020, the Missouri city had a population of 3,190 people according to U.S. Census data.
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Waltrip suggested that instead of hitting students, schools should try to help figure out and solve their problems.
“You know, I feel like if they had a different outlet like counseling services and school instead of corporal punishment, that would be the more appropriate answer,” she said. “At the end of the day they are having to hold the child down and spank them or use whatever means that they can to make the child submissive when that is not the issue, it is the fact that they need to be heard because children act out for varied reasons.”
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Johnson noted that schools will only use paddling as a last resort, and only if parents opt in, which they can do at any point in the school year. They are also able to opt out if they change their minds.
“Corporal punishment will be used only when other means of discipline have failed and then only in reasonable form, when the principal approves it,” Johnson said.