MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile County Public Schools will be sending out a survey to parents in the next month to gather their opinions on adding a new board meeting time, year-round school and bringing back corporal punishment.
This topic of discussion was not on Monday’s school board agenda but was brought up at the end of the meeting by board member Douglas Harwell.
“When I was in school, we had corporal punishment, and you would always joke and say let’s handle this at home don’t call my mom or dad. I think some people my age is looking at that and seeing the discipline issues that we have in school,” Harwell said.
Board member Dr. Reginald Crenshaw quickly spoke out against the idea during the meeting.
“Let me go on record and say that I will not support that. No kind of way you talk about putting your hands on people’s children I think it will get real pushy. I think we can come up with some other means other than corporal punishment,” Crenshaw said.
But other board members like Johnny Hatcher gave support after the meeting.
“It’s the worst thing that we ever did was taking prayer out of the school, the second worst thing we ever did was take the paddle out,” Hatcher said.
If corporal punishment is added back, it would be under certain guidelines including parental consent, a witness in the room during the punishment as well as the paddling being recorded on video.
The circumstance to receive corporal punishment still needs to be defined but Hatcher said it could include disrespect to a teacher, fighting, or cursing.
“What we have is a learned behavior, they learned that there’s no immediate consequences for them and that’s the problem if they know they are going to potentially paddled, it’s a good way to stop it,” Hatcher said.
Both Harwell and Hatcher said that it’s already a topic of discussion that parents have brought to them.
Parents like Francis and Karen Plough, however, do not agree.
“Hearing something like that when you know people may already be on the fence between public, private or homeschool definitely doesn’t lead you to it in my opinion,” Plough said.