Marion County schools bring back paddling as form of punishment

Elementary principals will be able to paddle misbehaving students

OCALA, Fla. - Elementary school principals will now be able to paddle misbehaving students in Marion County.

The Marion County school board approved the measure Tuesday, three years after banning the practice.

Paddling can only be used in elementary schools if a parent gives a standing written approval once a year. In addition, the principal must receive verbal permission before paddling the child. And a student can be paddled just once a semester.

The paddling itself would have to have a witness in the office and would mean three hits below the belt, on the rear.

The newspaper reports that before the practice was banned in 2010, Marion County was one of the largest districts in the state that still used corporal punishment.

The motion to bring back paddling was made by board member Carol Ely, a retired principal who believes it is a good option for discipline.

"It's after we've had the student in the office for several other offenses and nothing seems to work," Ely said.

While talking to parents, Local 6 noticed those who were raised with corporal punishment were the ones in favor.

"We had it when I was raised. It was in the back of our minds if we don't behave the principal could spank us," said mom, Tuesday Elder.

Meanwhile, parent Tammy Cameron says she will stick to the old way and she isn't talking about paddling.

"I was never disciplined that way as a child so my kids are not disciplined that way," said Cameron.

Do you agree with the decision?  Sound off by posting a comment at the bottom of the page.

Local 6 reached out to Department of Children and Families, but they had not looked over the policy to make a comment.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.