Enclosed in the start of school welcome packet, Leeds Elementary School, in Leeds, Ala., provided a permission slip that would grant school administrators the right to physically punish a child for bad behavior — and failure to return the form was considered consent.
“According to Leeds City Schools Public Policy, parents or legal guardians who do not want corporal punishment to be administered to their child/children must inform the principal of the school on an annual basis,” the form read.
AL.com reached out to the Leeds Superintendent John Moore, who told the news outlet that parents would be called before an administration of physical punishment, both if a parent did not return the form and if they granted permission on the form. The employee handbook for the school system does not outline a requirement for calling parents before corporal punishment is administered. Moore also expressed that the method of punishment was rarely used.
The school was caught in a whirlwind of backlash when Wendy Chandler, mom of a Leeds kindergartener, sent the form to The New York Times earlier this month. She added her own note to the form, expressing her disbelief that corporal punishment was even an option.
“I can not [sic] imagine how it would ever be OK to show violence towards anyone,” she wrote. “Hitting a child is beyond disgraceful. Anyone who could hit a child should be put in jail.”
At the time of this article, school administrators had not returned request for additional comment.