For the past 60 years, teachers and administrators at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans have wielded an 18-inch-long wooden paddle—euphemistically called “the board of education”—to administer corporal punishment to students. Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond and Edward Chiffriller, a Josephite priest who is that order’s superior general and head of the school’s board of trustees, ordered the practice stopped following an intensive review process. But their decision has been met with outspoken opposition from parents, alumni, students, the school’s board of directors and both current and former administrators. During a three-hour and 50-minute “disciplinary town-hall meeting” on Feb. 24 at the St. Augustine gym, speaker after speaker—including John Raphael, the Josephite president of St. Augustine—passionately explained why they supported the use of corporal punishment and asked that the moratorium be lifted. St. Augustine is the only Catholic school in the United States to have permitted corporal punishment as recently as 2010.
New Orleans School Paddles On?