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Supporters March to Keep Paddling at Catholic School

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) More than 500 students, parents and other supporters of St. Augustine High School marched Saturday (March 26) on the offices of Archbishop Gregory Aymond to oppose his call for an end to the school’s policy of using corporal punishment.

The archbishop “is trying to fix something that’s not broken, and he’s going about it in the wrong way,” said Jacob Washington, the student body president at the historically black school.

The protesters called on the archbishop to issue a “public, unequivocal retraction … of all statements linking St. Augustine disciplinary policies with violence, particularly in the New Orleans community.”

Protesters also demanded proof of Aymond’s claims that parents have complained about the paddling policy, along with evidence for a study he has cited to bolster his position.


The archbishop has said corporal punishment institutionalizes violence, runs counter to Catholic teaching and good educational practice, and violates local archdiocesan school policy.

The Center for Effective Discipline has identified St. Augustine as the lone Catholic school in the country still using corporal punishment.

In a prepared statement, Aymond held his ground and prayed for a “peaceful resolution” to the dispute. “I share their passion for the school and its success; we disagree only on the issue of corporal punishment,” Aymond said.

Supporters say the issue is not as much about the wooden paddle as the rights of African-American parents to educate and discipline their children in their own traditions. “It’s about the right to self-govern,” said Warren Johnson, a 1981 alumnus.

– KARI DeQUINE, Religion News Service

(Kari DeQuine writes for The Times Picayune in New Orleans.)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Henrietta22

    Can’t imagine a parent or child (the person on the end of the paddle) marching in line asking to please continue the physical punishment. Mind-boggling! These parents need to go into counseling to understand what their Priest is trying to do for them as families.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment nnmns

    It makes you wonder whether one group was getting the paddlings (they are so out of style my spell checker didn’t recognize the plural) and another group was advocating them. But that’s just a guess.

    Paddlings weren’t uncommon when I was in school and I don’t recall getting one. I also am not aware they damaged anyone but they may have. I can see there might be some benefit to allowing them but the big danger is that bigots will use them against those they don’t like.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jyl

    Paddling is a nice word for beating.
    Spanking is a mild word for assaulting.
    When the child grows up and abuses his wife, who is to blame?
    The one that taught the child it is okay to hit.
    When the child assaults someone, who is to blame?
    The one who said it was okay to hit a small child.
    Shame on the schools, who can’t handle the kids.
    They want the money, but they don’t want to take the time for proper punishment without torture and hurting the kids.
    It is time for us to unlearn the culture of violence toward children and pretending it is biblical.
    It is cruel, it is abuse, it is evil.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    Jyl dream on kids have murdered parents that never laid a hand on them, paddling is not always beating and often it is a loving act, a warning that could prevent a greater harm.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Henrietta22

    A warning to prevent a graver result if bad behavior continues can be done with parents and teachers getting their childens attention and talking to them. We never had physical punishment in the NJ schools in the 30’s and 40’s. Young children were made to sit in the corner in front of the room for so many minutes. It was very embarrassing and the point was made usually the first time, but with some it took twice to do it. Respect is not earned by violence, ever. As far as kids ,ck, killing their parents, you are speaking of mental problems in a child, not the normal brains of most kids. You are also talking about drugged children doing the evil acts.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    no I’m not H, there are many kids that do this and I was in the mall and one child was calling her mom a M.F. and telling her F u the mom was at a lost the kid was almost as big but time out apparently was not working for her. Kid’s are oriented by t.v. that parents are idiots and that they are light years ahead of the parent no respect is needed. Kid’s talk to their parents calling them by their first name not mom. I’m not saying that spanking is the end all be all not even saying that every kid need spanking but sometimes the parent knows better than a spectator and their are times some parents are out of line and torturous but spanking or no spanking you can’t change everyone. Some kids for your own protection you ought to be glad that someone disciplined them to respect older people.

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    It is the only Catholic school in the COUNTRY still smacking kids with a paddle? What does that say? This school is all Black or predominately Black. Some of those parents probably have ancestors that were slaves—and were beaten. I have never really understood why anyone would want to continue doing something that was done to their ancestors or anyone for that matter—beatings. Did the beatings their ancestors received make them better people?

    I sincerely hope that the school stops it’s policy—and if the parents don’t like it—they can remove their children. There is no reason to hit kids. (even though sometimes the urge is there—but part of being an adult is to not follow through.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    pagan I simply cannot understand why you make references to slavery that you have no idea about nor compassion for (compassion meaning action which you take none) paddling in no where near like the beatings or the treatment slaves received. Stick to homosexuality that is where you do have concern. I know a lot about a person on how they post and when there is an article on injustice against “blacks” you and your cronies hardly post at all. You only use the African American experience to boaster your arguments on other topics (especially homosexuality)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    So you’re saying, cknuck, that the beatings the slaves took actually made them better so the predominately black Catholic school parents want paddling to continue to make their children better citizens. Interesting, cknuck. Of course you are an expert on slavery—and everything associated with it. (because you are a black male). We “white” folks don’t know nothin’. BTW, I intend to comment however I wish to. I also disagree with your observation regarding articles on injustice towards blacks. But hey! I have no compassion so what would you expect?? Have a nice day, cknuck. Or night or whatever.

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