Three students were punished for walking out of their Arkansas school Wednesday during the national protest against gun violence, and their punishment is now in the spotlight. Per ArkansasMatters.com, the Greenbrier Public Schools superintendent says the students never gave a heads-up so their school could prep for their demonstration, adding they were disciplined not for exercising their First Amendment rights, but for leaving class. Their choice of punishment, per the super: suspension or getting a parent-OK'd paddling. He wouldn't say which punishment was selected, but the mom of one student did. On Wednesday, Jerusalem Greer tweeted that the kids "chose corporal punishment," adding: "This generation is not playing around." Her revelation soon went viral, with reactions ranging from calls to contact the ACLU to a horrified "Holy hell. Corporal punishment is still a thing in schools?!"
And that's proven surprising to many, as, yes, many states do still allow it, though the exact number differs (it's usually said to be 19). The Daily Beast reviewed Greenbrier's school policy and found it stated physical punishment couldn't be "excessive, or administered with malice"; an attempt to talk to the school's assistant principal about the policy was met with a hang-up. Greer's son, Wylie, told the Daily Beast his two "swats" didn't hurt or cause any injury. He says he has "the utmost respect for all the adults involved," as they were "merely doing their job," though "the idea that violence should be used against someone who was protesting violence as a means to discipline them is appalling," he noted. (Alabama paddled 19,000 kids in one school year.)