The man wanted to paddle his tween daughter for getting into "a heated argument" with her sister, WLWT reports, so he called the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office and asked them to supervise. A deputy came to the house, watched the corporal punishment, and left after determining it was legal.
"It's within statute for them to discipline their children, and spank them. ... You are entitled to paddle your child, whether you use you hands, you use a belt, you use a paddle. Within reason. As long as you're paddlin' the buttocks," undersheriff Noel Stephen told WLWT. The report didn't specify whether hand, belt, or paddle was the weapon of choice in this particular case.
Stephen is apparently correct: "Corporal discipline of a child by a parent or legal custodian for disciplinary purposes does not in itself constitute abuse when it does not result in harm to the child," according to Florida's civil code, and the threshold for "harm" is pretty high: It includes cuts, burns, sprains, hemorrhages, broken bones, and disfigurement, among other things.
A bruised buttcheek doesn't make the list.
Stephen has personally overseen about a dozen such paddlin' incidents, but says the sheriff's office only provides the service when deputies aren't handling more serious calls.
Happy paddling, Floridians. Sorry, children of Florida—don't forget you can leave the state if you survive to adulthood.