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It’s not that she doesn’t believe in spanking–because she has spanked her three children in the past, but Williston’s Tenika Jones opposes corporal punishment in schools.
That opposition is stronger now that her 5-year-old son Jeff (not his real name) was the recipient of a paddling Feb. 1 that, according to her, led to an asthma attack.
Jones said when she went to meet the school bus that February afternoon, Jeff was crying when he came off the bus.
He–and several other children–said he had been paddled by the principal.
According to Jones, Jeff, a pre-K student and a third grader got into an altercation on the bus.
The principal, Jaime Handlin, took Jeff off the bus and spanked him.
Jones said he cried all the way home, which aggravated his asthma, leading to giving him a breathing treatment.
She said she called the school but Handlin was in a meeting, although she did call the mother back.
Jeff had marks on his buttocks, his mother said, and she then took him to CMS in Gainesville.
“If I had spanked my child like that to leave marks,” the stay-at-home mom said, “I would have been investigated for child abuse,” she said Tuesday.
The marks were still on his buttocks Feb. 2, she said.
Jones also said she never signed the waiver sent home by the school that would grant permission to the school to utilize corporal punishment on her child.
“I don’t feel like it’s right,” she said.
Child Protective Services alerted the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama about the case, and last week representatives joined Jones in a press conference to publically oppose corporal punishment.
Jones said her son returned to school, still rides the bus but is still suffering from after affects.
Handlin, the principal, said Wednesday she acted in accordance with the state statute and the Levy County School Board policy.
“Nothing was violated,” Handlin said.
“I disciplined out of love not anger,” she said, adding that she was striving to turn negative behavior among the students into positive relationships.
Handlin could not comment further, but when asked about the corporal punishment waiver, said it is sent home as a courtesy to parents.