Florida School Board Member Wants To Bring Back Corporal Punishment, Says Disabled Students' Behavio
A Collier County school board member has spoken and his words are shocking, to say the least.
On Tuesday, newly elected member Jerry Rutherford said he wants to bring corporal punishment back to district classrooms.
He also said that it is disabled students' behavior in particular that is "out of control."
Rutherford didn't stop there, he said he'd also like to see fewer "rights" for LGBTQ students or the same extended to religious students who wish to practice religion in school, Naples News reported.
Jory Westberry lost her school board seat to Rutherford. She has slammed his views on corporal punishment, LGBTQ students, and putting religion in schools, saying it would "put something so pervasively wrong in schools."
The state of Florida allows corporal punishment in public schools as long as the district allows it.
"First of all," she said, "if (Florida) allows corporal punishment, Collier County does not."
"Second, students with handicaps are entitled to a free public education without retribution because of their behavior. That's why we have behavior specialists who work with students, parents, and teachers to enable them to have a more effective, productive experience in school," Westberry said.
Westberry spoke out against Rutherford's priorities, along with others.
Rutherford won the District 1 seat away from the longtime teacher, administrator, and school board member Westberry in this year's election with a strong 65.4% of the vote to her 34.6%.
Rutherford has been active on school issues for the past 35 years and told the Naples Daily News in July that he decided he didn't want to be on the outside looking in anymore, so he decided to run for the first time for the elected position.
Rutherford's stated positions significantly changed before and after his election.
During the summer, he told the outlet that his priorities were to ensure proper education that helps everyone succeed, improve safety and mental health for both students and teachers, and address budgetary concerns.
However, on Wednesday, Rutherford said he has a five-point agenda he'd like to implement, including "mental and physical discipline," or physical punishment of children in Collier's public schools.
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