An Arkansas mother says her high school son and two classmates were hit with a paddle as punishment for joining a national student walkout that protested gun violence.
Jerusalem Greer said the boys, all of whom are 17, were told they could choose between corporal punishment or two days of in-school suspension.
“My kid and two other students walked out of their rural, very conservative, public school for 17 minutes today,” Greer posted on Twitter Wednesday. “They were given two punishment options. They chose corporal punishment. This generation is not playing around. #walkout.”
The teens were each hit twice on their buttocks with a paddle, Greer said.
A message left by InsideEdition.com with the Greenbrier School District was not immediately returned Friday. The phone at Greenbrier High School, where the boys are enrolled, was picked up and then hung up when InsideEdition.com called three times.
Greer said she was proud of her son, and supported his decision to get “swats.”
Thousands of students across the country staged Wednesday’s 17-minute walkout as a rebuke of campus gun violence. Each minute signified 17 victims who were gunned down on Feb.14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The three Arkansas students were the only protesters on campus. Greer’s son, Wylie, told the Daily Beast in a statement there were jeers from students when he walked out out. Two other students followed, and the three sat outside the school’s entrance, he said.
School officials told them to go back to class. “We refused,” Greer told the online publication.
Their punishment was for leaving class without permission, school officials said.
Greer said the adults did not act with “malice or cruelty” and the swats were not painful. He also stressed he had only the “utmost respect” for the school staff.
“I believe that corporal punishment has no place in schools, even if it wasn’t painful to me. The idea that violence should be used against someone who was protesting violence as a means to discipline them is appalling. I hope that this is changed, in Greenbrier, and across the country,” he said.