Mom upset that Jasper County principal paddles 5-year-old for spitting

A Jasper County mother says if she didn’t allow her 5-year-old’s principal to paddle him, the school would have suspended him.

That suspension would have put Shana Marie Perez back in jail for truancy, she said Wednesday. Perez said she was arrested two weeks ago on truancy charges, booked into jail and then released. If her son missed any more school, she said she thought she’d go to jail.

Perez’s son, a 5-year-old Jasper County Primary School student, missed 18 days this school year in part because of doctors appointments that Perez said should have been excused.

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Her son, Thomas, tried to hit another student on Monday, his mother said, and ended up spitting on someone else.

“He ended up spitting on somebody so [Principal Pam Edge] wanted to paddle him,” Perez said.

Perez said she knew the school permitted paddling, but said she signed a form at the beginning of the year that said her son could not be paddled under any circumstances.

On Wednesday, Perez posted a video to Facebook showing Edge and Assistant Principal Lynn McElheney preparing to paddle the boy.

Perez said she was helpless to do anything but watch so she pretended to text on her phone and shot video.

“I didn’t know I couldn’t get in trouble,” Perez said. “They told me either he gets a paddling or he gets suspended.”

School officials didn’t immediately respond to comment, but Perez forwarded an email from Superintendent Mike Newton that said Perez could keep Thomas home from school Thursday and the absence would be excused.

A conference was scheduled for Friday morning and Newton told Perez he wanted a CARE staff member to assist with frustrations Perez expressed about her son’s behavior at home and at school.

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