Several years have passed now since I uttered those words. We, my mother, my youngest son Nicki and I, were relaxing in our newly purchased farm house in North Central Arkansas while my two oldest children were away learning at their new school. I don't know why but for some reason Grandma had found one of the new school handbooks that we received over a month earlier. I had signed a form stating that I had received them but not expecting to find anything out of the ordinary had flipped through them for a minute or two and stuck them in a pile of assorted mail and papers on the kitchen counter.
The time was December of 2009 and we were anxiously awaiting the start of Christmas vacation. Outside the weather was bitter cold and the property which was surrounded now by almost bare trees seemed so peaceful it almost had a holy quality to it. Inside we had a nice warm fire in the wood-stove and the smell of cinnamon from a freshly brewed pot of gourmet coffee. Country living at it's finest we might have mused that day having just relocated from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas the month before but all that was about to change.
Suddenly out of the blue, Grandma who had been sitting at the kitchen table reading something says to me, "Do you know that they have corporal punishment at the school?" Not being familiar with the term nor ever having been exposed to even the idea of it, I looked up and replied "what's that?"
"It's paddling" she tells me.
"What? What do you mean?" I say, apparently not yet believing it even existed.
"They paddle at the school. You know when the kids get in trouble? They can paddle them," she explains as my mood suddenly drops from one of contentment to one of shock.
" You've got to be kidding me? Please tell me you are joking!"
"I'm not. I'm dead serious. Come look. It's right here in the handbook."
"Where? Show me?" I say and then when I see it "No way,
oh my God! That is just crazy!"
Five minutes later I was on the phone with the school informing them that "I don't allow anyone or anything to hit my child." I was told to just write a note stating that I didn't allow it and it will never be done to your child. "We always contact the parents for permission to perform it" I was told. "Perform?!" the word itself didn't seem to have any connection to what they were doing!