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Archbishop says he has proof of paddling’s pain

c. 2011 Religion News Service

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Archbishop Gregory Aymond says he has firsthand accounts from students who said they were injured by paddling at a Catholic high school, challenging school supporters who have filed suit over the claims.

Aymond’s disclosure came as parents and alumni of St. Augustine High School challenged the accuracy of a 2009 report from consultant Monica Applewhite, who was asked to investigate the school’s disciplinary policy.

Applewhite’s report found that at least three students sought hospital treatment after paddling, that some were paddled “day after day,” and that some had been paddled “more than five or six times a day.”


Supporters of the school — the last Catholic school in the country to employ corporal punishment — dismissed those findings. In multiple lawsuits, supporters have sued Applewhite and charged her with fabricating her report to Aymond.

Applewhite, who is based in Austin, did not respond to a request for comment.

Supporters say there appear to be no corroborating abuse reports to police from doctors or others who are legally required to notify police when they encounter suspected child abuse.

Aymond, who has expressed deep reservations about the use of corporal punishment at a church-affiliated school, said he’s had firsthand encounters with students who said they were injured.

“I’ve had people, in person and in writing, saying they’d been injured,” Aymond said, without providing specifics. “I’ve had phone calls. I’ve seen people in person — former students and parents.”

St. Augustine’s supporters fiercely defend the practice, saying it keeps children safe from the seductions of street life that are especially dangerous for the young African-American youths served by the school.

(Bruce Nolan writes for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    Paddling a child keeps them safe from the seductions of street life that are dangerous for Black children? WHAT???? IMO it just shows them that an adult is bigger than they are and can hit you. It also shows them that force/pain can be used to try and make someone do what you want them to do. Unfortunately in many Black families “whippins” were at one time considered normal practice for behavior “modification”. Whether that is still true, I don’t know and hope it is no longer used as “normal”. As for any teacher hitting a child—that is just wrong.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Henrietta22

    If anything could make these kids go on the streets it would be hitting them in school. They are being taught to strike out at people, just as they are being struck by people who are supposed to be there to teach them right from wrong, and to use their minds to think with, not think with their fists or worse. The parents should ask themselves why they are the last Catholic School still doing this type of punishment.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    Aymond, wrote a good article, I like his concern and although I still believe in spanking/paddling I think good conscientious folk like him are important to keep things healthy. pagan you singled out African Americans and slide the condescending language just like a clever modern day liberal bigot, (slick) but the truth of the matter is corporal punishment is universal it is not a race thing.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Katie Angel

    ck – if you had read the last line of the article, pagan’s comment makes perfect sense.

    “St. Augustine’s supporters fiercely defend the practice, saying it keeps children safe from the seductions of street life that are especially dangerous for the young African-American youths served by the school”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jestrfyl

    Welts on the buttocks, thighs or hands are nothing compared to the scars that also sear a person’s spirit. Paddling is a fools last defense and a sure indication of a loss of control.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    Katie A of course it would make sense to another white person who imagines license to assume about a race they deem they have a right to make such assumptions about maybe because they think they are just a little superior too. You position is no more surprising than the racial mock from pagan.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    Whatever, cknuck, whatever.

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