Corporal punishment in Marion Co. schools reinstated

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. —

Less than 24 hours after Marion County school leaders decided to bring back paddling for elementary students, Channel 9 has learned that middle school students could be next.

"One time, I spanked my son on the butt. He got angry. He started throwing stuff. I said, 'Wow, that's (spanking is) not the good thing to do,'" said parent Yadira Pierluissi.

Pierluissi said that since then, she has found other ways to discipline her 7-year-old son.

She said she is shocked to learn that someone at her son's school could ask for permission to paddle her son.

"Hitting him, it will make him badder," said Pierluissi.

Marion County School Board member Nancy Stacy helped pass corporal punishment for elementary schools. She told Channel 9 she wants it for middle school students, too.

"What do you want to say to people who think paddling is a form of abuse?" Channel 9's Marisa Mendelson asked Stacy.

"I believe that allowing children to have discipline issues and be disrespectful of other people is abuse, also," said Stacy.

An administrator told Mendelson that a wood paddle is typically used, and school officials will usually hit a child two to three times.

"I can't really say how hard they are hit. I guess it varies from individual from individual," said Sunrise Elementary Principal Chuck Trombly.

Trombly said he used to use corporal punishment when he was dean at another Marion County school.

"I think it does give schools another option to have in their discipline plan," said Trombly.

The paddling policy will go into effect next school year. It will be up to principals to decide which schools follow through. Then, parents have to give written and verbal permission.

But Pierluissi said she doesn't want a paddle anywhere near her son.

"They're not the parent; I am," she said.

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