Leeds parents want to ban physical punishment in elementary school

(Kaitlin McCulley/CBS42)

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LEEDS, Ala. (WIAT) – Charles Chandler thought the days of fearing the principal’s wooden paddle were over.

He was wrong.

“I grew up around here,” Chandler said. “And I remember how things were and, apparently, still are.”

His 5-year-old daughter Sadie is in kindergarten at Leeds Elementary School. She brought home a permission slip of sorts for her parents to sign. In the note, the principal asks parents for permission to administer “corporal punishment” to their child.

Chandler and his wife Wendy do not give their permission.

“It doesn’t work. It keeps you from finding out what the real source of the problem is,” Chandler said. “It perpetuates these bullying tactics.”

His wife Wendy put it more bluntly in the response she wrote on the school form.

“Hitting a child is beyond disgraceful,” Wendy Chandler wrote. “Anyone who could hit a child should be put in jail.”

The Chandlers feel so strongly about the issue, they started a petition on Change.org to stop corporal punishment in all public schools.

Not all Leeds parents are on board, though.

Jose Luna is the father of a child in fourth grade at Leeds Elementary.

“No parent should make a big deal of this,” Luna said. “Because like I said, during school, teachers are responsible. They should have the right.”

Leeds City Schools Superintendent John Moore sent CBS42 this statement:

Our school board, like most in Alabama, maintains a policy which allows for corporal punishment. Parents are free to check “yes” or “no” on the permission form as to their preference.  We always respect the preference of parents on this issue. An overwhelming majority of parents in Leeds have indicated corporal punishment is an acceptable form of discipline for their child.

The Chandlers say they’re not trying to change how other parents raise their children. However, they want school to be a bully-free zone for their daughter Sadie – teachers included.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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