Ga. Mom Believed She Had 2 Choices: Let School Paddle Her 5-Year-Old Son or Go to Jail

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
Screenshot of video showing Shana Marie Perez’s 5-year-old son being bent over a chair in preparation for a paddling by his Georgia school’s authorities

A Georgia mother says she was faced with an impossible choice: Let her 5-year-old son get paddled by the school principal or the child would be suspended, which she says would have landed her in jail.

Shana Marie Perez told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she had been arrested two weeks prior on truancy charges after her son missed 18 days of school. Perez was booked into jail and released the same day. She says that most of her son's absences from the Jasper County Primary School were for doctor's appointments and should have been excused. But she says she was left with a clear feeling that if her son missed another day, she would be locked up again.


On Monday, Perez's son Thomas got in trouble for reportedly hitting a student and spitting on another. 

"He ended up spitting on somebody, so [Principal Pam Edge] wanted to paddle him," Perez told AJC.

Perez told the newspaper that while she was aware that the school permits paddling students, she had signed a form indicating that her son was not to be paddled under any circumstances.

When faced with the options of having her son be paddled or having him suspended and her facing possible jail time, she agreed to allow the principal to paddle her son.


Perez said that she pretended to text on her phone but secretly recorded Edge and Assistant Principal Lynn McElheney preparing to paddle the boy. She loaded the video to Facebook, and it has since gone viral.

"I didn't know I couldn't get in trouble," Perez told AJC. "They told me either he gets a paddling or he gets suspended."


School officials didn't immediately respond to AJC's request for comment. Perez told the newspaper that she was allowed to keep Thomas home from school Thursday and that the absence would be excused.

A conference to address the incident was scheduled for Friday morning, AJC reports.

Read more at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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