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Arkansas student says he was paddled for gun control walkout

Students across the United States ...

Posted: Mar 18, 2018 12:29 PM
Updated: Mar 18, 2018 12:29 PM

Students across the United States are serving detention or in-school suspension as discipline for walking out of class Wednesday to protest gun violence.

But a student at Greenbrier High in Arkansas says he was punished a different way.

Wylie Greer told CNN that only he and two other students walked out, and while they were sitting outside the school building, the principal approached and asked if they knew "there would be consequences" for their action.

They said yes, Greer said, and returned to class. The 17-year-old senior discovered he had a choice of discipline: two days of in-school suspension or two swats with a wooden paddle.

Those choices surprised him, Greer said, but he picked the paddle with the support of his parents. Greer said taking the paddling "was the noble and right thing to do in this scenario."

"In my mind, the in-school suspension was essentially conceding to sitting down and shutting up, which is what the admin and school wanted to happen, to keep it quiet almost," Greer said. "I felt if I stood up and took the punishment in an honorable way, that it was better than doing what they wanted me to do which is shut up and go on with our lives. I don't think that they expected me to take the corporal punishment."

The dean of students emphasized that Greer was being disciplined for cutting class, not because of his opinion, Greer said. The school district did not return CNN's calls for comment.

Greenbrier Schools Superintendent Scott Spainhour did not identify affected students, but told CNN affiliate KARK they were disciplined for walking out of class, which violates policy.

Students who broke the rules chose between in school suspension or a swat with a paddle, he said, according to the affiliate. It said paddling in public schools is legal in Arkansas.

"He lightly gave me two swats and told me to go about my day," Greer said. "He also explained that not all corporal punishment sessions ended like that. It was implied that he didn't hit me as hard as he could have."

'Strait-laced place'

Greenbrier is a town of about 5,000 people about 45 miles north of Little Rock.

"Greenbrier prides itself on being a clean, straight-laced place," he said. "Nobody kneels during the National Anthem here."

Greer's mother, Jerusalem Greer, praised her son for taking a stand. His father signed papers to allow the punishment to be administered, the student said.

"Wylie's father and I are so proud of his courage, his conviction, and his honesty," she said to CNN. "He could have sensationalized his experience, but he didn't. We believe that it is important to empower our kids, in mature and developmentally appropriate ways, to be their own persons. Corporal Punishment of students should not be legal in any form."

Wylie Greer said he's not angry at the administrators.

"They were merely doing their job as the school board and school policy dictated," he said. "The 'swats' were not painful or injuring. It was nothing more than a temporary sting on my thighs."

Still, he hopes paddling will be done away with.

"I believe that corporal punishment has no place in schools, even if it wasn't painful to me," he said in the statement. "The idea that violence should be used against someone who was protesting violence as a means to discipline them is appalling."

He also hopes the school system is not criticized.

"I would encourage people not to harass anybody about what happened, especially not the administration," Greer said. "Protest, vote, but don't attack people verbally or physically over this. I was walking out against violence or hatred and I don't want to see that brought upon anybody."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 149940

Reported Deaths: 3779
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10097104
Hinds9984199
Harrison7116110
Jackson6360119
Rankin5588103
Lee509195
Madison4799106
Forrest383186
Jones357688
Lauderdale3496147
Lafayette326051
Washington3179107
Lamar291550
Oktibbeha245462
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Lowndes237364
Panola222350
Neshoba2206118
Marshall217250
Leflore205590
Pontotoc199928
Monroe198177
Sunflower191655
Lincoln190865
Warren176857
Tate169851
Union167325
Copiah164140
Pike162658
Yazoo156039
Scott154829
Itawamba152935
Pearl River152167
Alcorn151328
Coahoma150543
Simpson148353
Prentiss146230
Adams141950
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Leake134944
Holmes130861
George125524
Tippah125230
Covington123439
Winston122224
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Wayne117923
Marion116646
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Chickasaw107632
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Tallahatchie97027
Clay91327
Clarke90553
Jasper82822
Stone77014
Walthall76928
Calhoun75513
Montgomery74525
Carroll72415
Lawrence71814
Smith71316
Yalobusha71327
Noxubee71017
Perry67026
Tunica61019
Greene60322
Claiborne58616
Jefferson Davis57017
Amite54014
Humphreys53619
Benton49318
Quitman4927
Webster44314
Kemper43618
Wilkinson39822
Jefferson35211
Franklin3395
Choctaw3357
Sharkey30917
Issaquena1164
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 244993

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32314500
Mobile19859361
Madison13223148
Tuscaloosa13049154
Montgomery12342236
Shelby1031577
Baldwin873398
Lee775766
Morgan662650
Calhoun6301119
Etowah627666
Marshall627255
Houston525638
DeKalb485536
Cullman439442
Limestone425145
St. Clair419555
Lauderdale407854
Elmore406864
Walker3657111
Talladega351454
Jackson320423
Colbert311942
Blount292240
Autauga273542
Franklin252633
Coffee245415
Dale232654
Dallas226232
Chilton223438
Russell22193
Covington218934
Escambia198331
Chambers176850
Tallapoosa176391
Pike158614
Clarke158419
Marion140236
Winston133023
Lawrence127936
Pickens123518
Geneva12218
Marengo121524
Bibb117917
Barbour117310
Butler116541
Randolph102921
Cherokee102224
Hale97031
Clay91924
Fayette91616
Washington91219
Henry8546
Lowndes79929
Monroe78911
Cleburne77214
Macon73722
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69619
Perry6886
Conecuh68414
Lamar6798
Wilcox63518
Sumter58122
Greene42618
Choctaw42213
Coosa3444
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