From WWL-TV in New Orleans:
Students at St. Augustine High School held a rally Friday morning in support to keep corporal punishment at the school, particularly the tradition of using paddles to discipline students.
“Leave St. Aug alone, leave St. Aug alone,” chanted hundreds of students in unison during the rally.
Paddling has been part of the predominately African American Catholic school for its entire 60 year history.
“Regardless of how you may personally feel about the paddle,” said Ajani Gibson, a St. Augutine student to the crowd, “The fact is, what our school is doing works. It is seen by the very low dropout rates we have at this school.”
The rally comes a week after a heated town hall debate at the school with parents, teachers, alumni and members of the New Orleans Archdiocese.
A halt was put on the practice this year at the request of the school’s board of trustees, after Archbishop Gregory Aymond said paddling doesn't belong in a Catholic school.
"You're not just taking away a form of discipline, you're taking away a way of life at St. Augustine. It's like telling Leah Chase she can't use one of her spices she puts in her gumbo," said Jacob Washington, a student.
Aymond said St. Augustine is the only Catholic school in New Orleans that still practices corporal punishment, against the policies of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
"I believe hitting a child, or a young man, does not build character," said Aymond during a town hall meeting at the school.
Many parents and alumni, despite the archbishop’s strong feelings about corporal punishment, support the practice believe it should be continued.