Earlier this week, a Georgia elementary school principal paddled a five-year-old student in front of his mother.
The mother, Shana Marie Perez, of Covington, Ga, who pretended to text so that she could record the act, apparently could not do anything to stop the principal.
“They told me if he could not get a paddling he would have to be suspended and if he got suspended for even one day I WILL go to jail for truancy… Jasper county made me do this… I could not go to jail or my kids would have nothing … I can’t take care of my kids in jail…,” the mom wrote in a Facebook post on April 13.
Perez told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution that her son, Thomas, who attended Jasper County Primary School, tried to hit another student on Monday (April 11), and ended up spitting on someone else.
“He ended up spitting on somebody so [Principal Pam Edge] wanted to paddle him,” Perez said.
Perez told NBC News, her son’s attendance record previously had her arrested and released on bail for truancy.
The boy missed 18 days since the year started, Perez said.
She feared that if her son missed another day, her bond would be revoked and she would go back to jail, according to NBC.
Thomas’s poor attendance is due to his medical problems, she said.
In a statement to NBC News, Jasper County Sheriff Donnie Pope said that records showed Perez’s son had 18 unexcused absences and up to 20 incidences of “excessive tardiness.”
Pope added: “Ms. Perez would NOT have been re-arrested for the suspension in question … The sheriff’s office would not have pursued criminal charges based on the fact that an out of school suspension would not have shown negligence on the part of Ms. Perez since OSS absences are not within the parent’s control. After reviewing the facts of this case, no probable cause exists to substantiate the commission of a crime.”
School district officials are currently investigating the incident, though they noted that corporal punishment is allowed in the district. It is “consequences of behavior,” they said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, the district is barred by state and federal law from commenting about the specifics of this incident. The district respects every student’s right to privacy,” it read.
It also added: “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.”
However, Perez said she signed a form earlier in the school year that said her son should not be paddled under any circumstances.
A conference was scheduled for Friday morning.