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Newly elected Florida school board member wants corporal punishment

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New school Collier school board’s Rutherford says he’s pro-corporal punishment

The morning after being elected, a new school board member in South Florida said he wants to bring back corporal punishment in classrooms and would like to see fewer rights for LGBTQ students. 

Collier County school board‘s newly elected member Jerry Rutherford announced the goals Wednesday after beating longtime teacher, administrator and school board member Jory Westberry for the District 1 seat in Tuesday’s election. 

Rutherford said he wants to bring back corporal punishment and said behavior from disabled students, in particular, is “out of control.” Florida allows corporal punishment in public schools as long as the district allows it, though Collier County currently prohibits it.

Rutherford, who protested the LGBTQ festival in Naples and has pushed for Bibles in schools, said he’d like to see fewer “rights” for LGBTQ students — or the same rights extended to religious students who want to practice religion in school.

Rutherford won the seat with a strong 65.4% of the vote to Westberry’s 34.6%. 

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Jerry Rutherford of Naples reacts before a Naples City Council workshop session, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, at Naples City Hall in Naples, Fla.

Supporters and opposers of the drag show at the Naples Pride Festival in July spoke during public comments.

After speaking on myriad issues at school board meetings countless times for more than 35 years, Rutherford told the Naples Daily News in July he decided he didn’t want to be on the outside looking in anymore, so he joined the school board race.

This was his first time running for any elected position, he said.

Rutherford was endorsed by the Collier County Republican Executive Committee, which endorsed all three challengers to the school board. All of them won their races.

Story Credit: usatoday.com

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