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Story highlights

Georgia mother took video of school administrators preparing to spank her 5-year-old son

She tells CNN affiliate she agreed to paddling so she wouldn't end up in jail

School district is one where corporal punishment is permitted

(CNN) —  

A Georgia mother’s video of school administrators apparently paddling her 5-year-old son has sparked social media discussion on the merits of corporal punishment.

Shana Perez of Covington posted the video of the principal and assistant principal trying to spank the boy.

She admits she gave permission for her son to be paddled, but asserted she did so to avoid going to jail.

“If he gets suspended I am going to be arrested for truancy. If he misses another day, I am going to be arrested,” Perez told CNN affiliate WSB of Atlanta.

Perez was arrested recently because her son has missed 18 days of school, Sheriff Donnie Pope told WSB. It was unclear whether she would be arrested again if her son was suspended.

Perez said her son was being punished for spitting at another student, WSB reported.

She was in the school’s office this week and began recording on her cell phone as Jasper County Primary School Principal Pam Edge and Assistant Principal Lynn McElheney attempted to paddle her son.

In the more than two-minute video, the boy begins to cry as the school officials try to get him to put his hands on the arm of a chair and stand with his backside to one of the administrators. The cries become wails and the boy twists and lifts a leg as the officials try to hold him in place. At one point he tries to cover the back of his shorts with his hands.

One of the officials says they will spank him one time.

“No. Don’t spank me,” he says later as he walks over to his mother. “Help me.”

The Jasper County School District said it cannot comment on the incident but its code of conduct allows for corporal punishment, with parental consent.

“The District is investigating the incident and looking into its discipline policies at this time,” the school system’s statement said.

Perez’s video, which doesn’t show the paddling, has been shared on Facebook more than 50,000 times.

Many commenters criticized the school officials, saying it is the parents’ responsibility to discipline a child. A few said paddling by principals and teachers is OK, if the child deserves it.

According to the Center for Effective Discipline, an advocacy group that wants to end paddling, 19 states allow corporal punishment in schools. They are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.

Jasper County Primary School has reported its discipline cases to the federal government. In the most recent report, for the 2011-2012 school year, the school said there were 25 cases of corporal punishment. The school had 706 students that year. Data from the 2013-2014 school year is not yet available, the U.S. Department of Education said.