Five rulers taped together, a wooden spoon and two by four was wrapped in duct tape are all tools of the trade in corporal punishment. "My son was paddled." Memphis mom Trina McNeil was horrified when her son came home from school bruised and in pain! "When he got home he couldn't sit down and I was asking him why he was acting like this. He told me he got paddled twice. I looked at his behind and it was black, blue and green." Paddling has been permissible in city schools since 1958. Since 1997, school board member Lora Jobe has been fighting to stop it. Her cause gained momentum this year when Kweisi Mfume, the head of the NAACP, and Jesse Jackson spoke out against spanking. Memphis' new superintendent, Dr. Carol Johnson, who is not a fan of paddling, is cracking down on educators who violate the policy. Case in point, a basketball coach would paddle his players; if his players missed their free throws. Fifteen-year-old Darron Valentine was paddled in school. He was hit on the palm with a ruler and he didn't mind. "They just give me two or three licks and let me go." Gwen Stampley, who has a granddaughter in the school system, also supports spanking. "Yes, I think if we had more of that some of these kids might be better than they are today. Yes, I'm for paddling." However, Trina McNeil says she'll never be convinced. "I told them I wanted to press charges." She hopes the Memphis School Board bans paddling as punishment. A survey of Memphis parents found that seventy percent support corporal punishment. We'll see what school board leaders decide tomorrow night.
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