Three Arkansas high schools students say they were smacked with a paddle by school officials for participating in the national walkout to protest gun violence earlier this week.
The Greenbrier, Ark., high school students were reportedly given the choice between in-school suspension or corporal punishment.
One student’s mother, Jerusalem J. Greer, applauded her son and the other students at Greenbrier Public School for their decision to participate in the walkout following the deadly shooting that killed 15 students and two adults at Stoneman Douglas High School last month in Parkland, Florida.
“My kid and two other students walked out of their rural, very conservative, public school for 17 minutes today,” Greer wrote on Twitter. “They were given two punishment options. They chose corporal punishment. This generation is not playing around.”
My kid and two other students walked out of their rural, very conservative, public school for 17 minutes today. They were given two punishment options. They chose corporal punishment. This generation is not playing around. #walkout
— Jerusalem Greer (@JerusalemGreer) March 14, 2018
District superintendent Scott Spainhour confirmed to KARK-TV that three students had participated in the walkout.
According to Greenbrier Public School’s official policy, the school board “authorizes the use of corporal punishment to be administered in accordance with this policy by the Superintendent or his/her designated staff members who are required to have a state-issued license as a condition of their employment.”
The handbook says that before students are smacked they are to be “given an explanation of the reasons for the punishment and be given an opportunity to refute the charges. administered privately, i.e. out of the sight and hearing of other students.”
Wylie Greer, one of the students punished after walking out, told The Daily Beast that after walking out, he and the other students were told they could “either suffer two ‘swats’ from a paddle or two days of in-school suspension.”
“All three of us chose the paddling, with the support of our parents,” Greer said.
Greer says he was initially “scared and nervous” about the pain, but eventually felt resolved.
“I understood what had to happen, and was prepared for that,” he says. The Dean “swatted” all three students with a paddle. Greer says he was paddled during his sixth period class, and described it as a “temporary sting” on his thighs that was not “dealt with malice or cruelty.”
He says the idea that “violence should be used to intimidate children and young adults into silence disgusts me.”
“It is barbaric and cruel,” he added.
“The idea that violence should be used against someone who was protesting violence as a means to discipline them is appalling,” one of the students said.