Should paddles be used to discipline students? Some schools in Florida say yes

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - After being banned for three years, Marion County school board members have decided to allow paddles in classrooms.

Public elementary schools in Marion County have been given the green light to use paddles to discipline students. The schools will be required to have written consent from parents before taking a paddle to their child. Administrators will also only be able to paddle a child once a semester.

In Palm Beach County, teachers and parents are reacting.

Lisa Forman teaches 6th grade students at Baldwin Prep School in West Palm Beach. With a class of only 8 students, Forman says she has good control of her students.

But when they don't follow classroom rules, she has options to get them in line. That includes having the students write the Bill of Rights when they get too mouthy, or staying late after school to pick up trash.

Forman says she doesn't think Paddles are a good idea. "I don't think it should be necessary. I think that there can be some short and long term negative psychological problems."

Some Palm Beach County parents agree. Darci Stanton said, " I don't think that's appropriate at all."

Baldwin Prep Headmistress Gena Baldwin said she doesn't plan on using paddles in her school, but she says she understands the frustration public school teachers have. "To be perfectly honest, as a parent and an educator, I'm a little on the fence."

As a former public school teacher, she knows it's tough to keep larger classes under control. "I feel for my colleagues in the public school  that may be just at their wits end trying to figure out what consequences are appropriate to get their children to behave," explained Baldwin.

Officials with The Classroom Teachers Association say Palm Beach County schools have not used paddles in years, nor do they support using paddles.

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