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Rural Fla. Schools Paddle Students

Rural Florida schools still spank misbehaving students, and some rural residents say it's a tradition that the community has the right to continue.

A story published in The Miami Herald last weekend focuses on this issue and concentrates on some of the state's rural areas where corporal punishment is allowed.

The story reports that Florida is one of 19 states that permit public schools to paddle. Most Florida school districts don't, but 29 counties do, and many are in small, rural towns.

The article includes interviews with students from different geographic parts of the state, and their views on corporal punishment are interesting—and drastically different. It made me wonder whether their varied perspectives are a consequence in part of geography.

A senior at rural Holmes County High School, in Bonifay, Fla., said in the story: "I think it's a little weird that other schools don't [paddle]. If you don't have [any] state of discipline, when you do graduate and you get in trouble one time ... then I think it's the school's fault for not teaching discipline in their years of learning."

Contrast that with what one junior at urban Miami Beach High School in Miami Beach, Fla., had to say: "That's so dumb, why would we allow people to hit students? I would feel embarrassed. That's degrading."

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