Cellphone video showing an elementary school principal apparently paddling a 5-year-old boy in Georgia has gone viral on social media.
Shana Marie Perez, of Covington, Ga., posted video on Facebook showing her young son, Thomas, being hit with a wooden paddle. Perez said she initially consented to the punishment, Fox affiliate WAGA reports.
“He tried to hit another child and they said he, I guess, he missed, but he tried to run around the school lot and they were all trying to stop him, and he spit on somebody,” Perez told the station.
Perez said she consented to the paddling because she felt pressured since she had previously been arrested for truancy after her son missed 18 days of school. She told WAGA he was absent because he was showing symptoms that falsely pointed to cancer.
Corporal punishment is not a crime in Georgia. As of Friday afternoon, the video had more than a million views on Facebook.
The video shows two administrators from Jasper County Primary School trying to get the boy to stand still.
"I'm only going to do it one time... unless you wiggle around," one administrator is heard telling the boy.
"Don't spank me," Thomas says.
"You're going to get spanked now," one of the administrators replies.
"We've got all the time in the world, don't we?" says the other administrator.
Perez said she later regretted giving school officials permission to punish her son with the wooden paddle, according to local news reports. Perez claims she was told that if she did not allow the paddling, Thomas would be suspended and that the suspension would put her in jail.
In a statement released to WAGA, the Jasper County School District said it is aware of the video Perez released.
"Unfortunately, the district is barred by state and federal law from commenting about the specifics of this incident," the statement said.
"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," it said. "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."