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Greensburg Daily Tribune, Pennsylvania, 14 October 1952, p.3
Hempfield Board Hears of Complaints
Hempfield Joint School Area will have a formal set of regulations drawn up to govern the disciplining and punishment of students, the joint board voted at its regular meeting in the Harrold Junior High School building after hearing the complaints of two parents, who said their 15-year-old daughters were badly beaten with a paddle -- one admittedly by mistake.
Main purpose of the regulations, it was indicated by the board, will be to establish a district policy with regard to the administering of corporal punishment and to prevent a re-occurrence of the recent paddling incident.
One of the two 10th-grade girls told the school board that she had been paddled, along with four other girls, by Lester Kleckner, principal of the Manor Junior High School, for violating a rule with regard to use of a bridge and consequently being 10 minutes late. The other girl stated that she had not violated the particular school rule but by coincidence entered the building with the other tardy group and was likewise paddled by the principal, who later apologized.
The father of the second girl stated that an apology was not sufficient and expressed the opinion that Principal Kleckner should be dismissed to prevent the possibility of such treatment of any school student in the future.
Several board members told the parents that they saw no justification for paddling a 15-year-old girl under any circumstances, but no formal action was taken by the joint area board against Kleckner, who was hired by the Manor board.
Whether the Manor board will take specific action later in the case was not indicated Monday night by Manor board members attending the joint meeting.
Associate Superintendent Theodore Fullerton said that he felt, after a preliminary investigation of the case, that the principal involved would be unlikely to act in such a manner again, but one of the parents present insisted that a loss of temper of that type could easily occur again.
"If he can't control himself, he ought to be out of the schools," the parent said.
Parents of both girls told the board that their daughters had to be kept home from school the following day as a result of the severe beating.
The one girl stated that because of the paddling, the corduroy skirt she was wearing had lost its corduroy effect. She and her mother also stated that she had marks on her legs for a long time.
According to the other girl's parents, she was unable to sit down at home following the paddling.
The school board passed two motions after hearing the parents' complaints. The first instructed the associate superintendent to draw up a set of regulations for school discipline and submit them to the school board for approval and the other directed that Principal Kleckner be instructed not to administer any corporal punishment hereafter without first getting the permission from the associate superintendent's office.
Associate Supt. Fullerton indicated that all teachers would be consulted in drawing up the discipline regulations to be submitted to the joint board.
Construction of the new Maxwell elementary school building north of Greensburg is nearing completion, it was reported at the meeting.
The Pittsburgh Press, Pennsylvania, 16 October 1952, p.2
Girls Paddled, Parents Angered
Fire Principal, Families Demand
"Not Cruel Character," School Head Insists
JEANNETTE, Pa., Oct. 16 (Special) -- The principal of nearby Manors Junior High School was under fire today for letting the "hickory stick" talk after words had failed.
Parents of four teen-aged girl students demanded that Principal Lester Kleckner resign his post.
Mr. Kleckner paddled the girls -- two of whom are 15 -- as punishment for disobeying the school rules.
The girls had been at gym classes at the athletic field a short walk from the school. Instead of returning directly as ordered after the class, they detoured by way of an ice cream store.
They got back to the school about 10 or 15 minutes late.
"Three of the girls had done this twice before," Mr. Kleckner said. "Talking to them had failed, so I thought a little spanking might help."
Actually, the principal said, he paddled five girls. But the parents of only four protested.
Mr. Kleckner, who has been principal for nine years, said:
"Now the public has got an idea that I'm a sort of cruel character because I took it out on these kids. That's not it at all."
The principal confessed that, as a youngster, he felt the sting of a headmaster's paddle himself.
As a result of his action the Hempfield Joint School Board instructed Associate Supt. Theodore Fullerton to draw up a series of regulations on school discipline.
The board also directed the principal not to use his paddle unless first getting Mr. Fullerton's permission.
Last night the Manor School Board, directly in charge of the high school, launched an investigation of its own.
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