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www.corpun.com   :  Archive   :  1999   :  US Schools Aug 1999

-- THE ARCHIVE --


UNITED STATES
School CP - August 1999



Corpun file 4115

masthead

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas, 7 August 1999

A blow to the spirit

Do school policies favor male athletes over cheerleaders? Mike Page started asking this question when his daughter was paddled and removed from the cheerleading team for smoking a cigarette. He's still waiting for an answer.

By Jessie Milligan
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

It doesn't take Dad long to find what he is looking for in the storage room of his Fort Worth home. Over and over in the past few months, he has thought a lot about trophies, tiaras and the unfair treatment of young girls.

Amber Page and her father He spots the 1982 Miss Texas Star Best Party Dress award. It's right next to the StarLight Baby 1982 Winner trophy. Mike Page grabs those out of storage, along with a couple of tiny tiaras won by his daughter, Amber Page, when she was just 1 year old.

She is 17 now, with a stream of trophies and straight-A report cards behind her. Something catches in his throat. After a lifetime of pageants and pompons, after a lifetime of applause, suddenly it feels as if so much of it is gone, smacked out of her with a paddle.

She did something wrong. Dad knows that. But the punishment seems too severe.

Amber Page, selected to be captain of the Class of 2000 varsity cheer team when school starts Aug. 16 at South Grand Prairie High School, was kicked off the squad after an assistant principal caught her smoking a cigarette in the school parking lot one day last spring.

An officer of the Grand Prairie Police Department gave her a $135 citation for being a minor in possession of tobacco, a misdemeanor.

Two male administrators took her into an office where one of them paddled her in private, as is district policy.

To protect student confidentiality, school district officials will not comment in detail on the specifics of Amber's situation. Grand Prairie School Board President Norris "Stretch" Rideaux says the board agreed in closed session to uphold the administration's treatment of Amber to encourage good citizenship among students.

Dad is fuming.

"No way would they do this to a quarterback," he says.

After Amber was paddled, television cameras and newspaper reporters went to the school. In a year filled with horrible violence on American campuses, public attention turned to how kids are treated at school. Violence in movies, in the news, and on video games surely plays a part. But are there more subtle influences? Do we teach kids to disrespect government? Are we too quick to hit them? Do we use humiliation to control them?

Amber Page in her cheerleading uniformMike Page took a week off of work as a grocer in Irving to try to persuade school administrators to change their minds about removing his daughter from the squad.

He ended up with more questions than answers.

"Would they spank a 17-year-old male cheerleader?" he wonders. "How can they be so hard on a kid who makes a mistake?"

He sets "Miss StarLight" and "Miss Texas Star" on the hearth of the brick fireplace in the family room of the home where he lives alone. Amber lives with her mom in Grand Prairie.

He wants to look at the trophies for a while as he wonders what to do next. The baby pageant trophies look a little tarnished these days. Once in a while, he cries. He couldn't love his blond, blue-eyed daughter any more than he already does, and he hates that she is hurting.

Here's how Amber's dream unraveled:

It was Friday, April 30. Amber met a big group of friends in the school parking lot. She says a lot of the kids were smoking cigarettes.

She was standing with her back toward the school when a friend told her "Hey, Amber, Mr. Pecor is coming." She thought her friends were pulling her leg.

Assistant Principal David Pecor pointed at her, and gestured for her to come to the office with him.

In the South Grand Prairie High School book of rules, cheerleaders caught smoking can earn 16 to 30 demerits. Thirty demerits are enough to kick a student off the cheerleading squad. In meetings with various assistant principals that day, Amber was told her offense earned her 30 demerits. She was given a choice: two swats with a paddle or two days of in-school suspension in a room Amber calls "the dungeon," a room in the basement of the school where students spend time in isolation. Amber chose the paddle.

Administrators called Mike Page, just as they are supposed to do before they paddle a student.

"There is no way I want you to do that to my daughter!" Page says he told them. Mike Page argued and yelled, but he was told those were the rules and Amber made the choice. Finally, he says, he relented.

Friday passed without punishment. On Monday, Amber got ready for school with dread. She put on four pairs of shorts, then covered them with a pair of overalls. She wanted the extra padding.

When she went to the school office, she was told she'd be kicked off the squad. She started to cry. She wasn't paddled that day.

Amber says this was her first offense. She suggested that her punishment be constructive, and volunteered to teach anti-smoking classes to younger students. Her suggestion, she says, was turned down.

That doesn't make sense, she thought: "What are they trying to teach me?"

On May 7, a week after she was seen smoking, school officials called her back into the administrative offices. The door was closed. Assistant Principals Mike Cook and Benny Reed were there. Amber remembers wishing a woman was in the room.

"That's the least they should do," she says.

Grand Prairie requires that two administrators be present. Gender is not taken into account. Amber was wearing a short denim skirt. One of the principals picked up the paddle. Amber says she was hit twice.

In a special school board meeting, Mike Page pleaded with the board to grant his daughter a reprieve and allow her to remain on the cheerleading squad. Other cheerleaders attended the meeting and told the board that neither they nor Amber were aware of the consequences of smoking.

The board discussed the issue in a closed meeting, then voted to uphold the administration's action.

All those years of preparing came to an abrupt end. The week after school was out, Amber Page cried when all her friends went off to cheerleading camp. She heard that the cheerleaders elected the Pecor twins -- Brooke and Leslie -- to be the new cheerleading squad captain and the assistant. The Pecor twins are the daughters of the assistant principal who caught Amber smoking. She says she loves the twins dearly. They have cheered together for three years. They lifted her over their heads as she performed difficult gymnastic stunts. They caught her when she fell.

Was South Grand Prairie too hard on Amber Page?

The Pages think so, and have retained an attorney.

The school's code of conduct and its cheerleader guidelines say smoking on campus is an offense that can result in a range of punishment, the harshest of which includes removal from the squad and paddling. Administrators could have opted for less severe measures such as counseling or parent conferences.

Amber's punishment may seem severe to outside observers. But paddling is an accepted form of student discipline in about half of the school districts in the Metroplex, including all of Dallas.

"My goodness," said state Rep. Harold Dutton of Houston, vice chairman of the Texas House of Representatives Public Education committee when he heard about the punishment. "Do they only want perfect children on their squad?"

Although Dutton thought Amber's punishment was severe, he said he is not opposed to paddling as a form of student punishment.

What rankles Mike Page is his belief that cheerleaders are treated more harshly than other athletes at the school. School officials, including district spokesman Sam Buchmeyer, say a written policy exists for male athletes participating in other sports, but they couldn't locate it when asked for a copy.

Page's anger grew when he heard that the coaches in the district are proposing a more lenient policy for student athletes than for cheerleaders. Student athletes caught smoking would be suspended for 10 days on a first offense if the school board votes to accept a revised policy at its meeting Thursday.

Mike Page says he wishes his daughter had been offered the same 10-day suspension instead of what he says is a "life sentence."

South Grand Prairie High School cheerleaders follow a code written in 1995 by parents and cheerleading coaches. The code states that cheerleaders are representatives of the school and should have "higher standards" of behavior than other students.

Grand Prairie Superintendent David Barbosa said that the question of whether the district treated Amber fairly is really a moot point.

"Everybody wanted cheerleaders held to a higher standard than other organizations," Barbosa said.

District policy allows parents, students and teachers involved in each extracurricular activity to set their own standard of behavior. Everybody agrees in writing to abide by the rules of their organization.

Amber signed the agreement three years in a row, Barbosa says.

Amber says she signed the code of conduct, but she says the consequences were not specific.

"It is somewhat hard to believe that she wasn't aware," Barbosa said.

That difference in standards makes sense to some of the people behind the pompons.

"As a cheerleader, you are not just football, not just baseball, you are year around. You never fade off into the background," says Southern Methodist University Spirit coordinator Darren McCoy. "You don't have a helmet on, you aren't way out in left field. You are in front of the stands, and people relate to you as an individual.

"In the schools I went to, the grade-point requirement was always higher for me as a cheerleader than it was for football players," he said.

But is the "higher standard" fair?

In response to complaints by Mike Page, administrators in the Grand Prairie school district say they will have a task force look at how discipline policies differ among sports and other extracurricular activities. Superintendent Barbosa said it will take at least six months for the district to review its policies.

The district doesn't believe it is discriminating on a gender basis. South Grand Prairie Senior High School has two male cheerleaders, said Buchmeyer, the district spokesman.

Amber says she plans to keep her grades up so she can go to college and be a cheerleader again.

"I love to perform," she says. "I love the responsibility. I want to be a leader. I realize I made a mistake."

Although Amber says she's not as excited about her senior year now, her dad says she'll pull through.

"She's such a good girl," he says.

© 1999 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas


blob Previous: 29 May 1999 - Penalty for smoking unclear, girl's supporters say (includes another photograph of Amber Page)


Corpun file 4119

masthead

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas, 9 August 1999

The State of Paddling

By Jessie Milligan
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

There she is, 36 years old, an art teacher and cheerleading coach, sitting outside the office of Ron Johnson, principal of E.B. Comstock Middle School in southeast Dallas. Johnson goes into his office and closes the door. Beside her sit several children awaiting punishment.

Johnson doesn't come out of his office.

He's trying to control me by demeaning me, she thinks.

Sandy Lee, a Fort Worth woman with 10 years' teaching experience, had just told Dallas school district officials, Dallas police and television reporters that E.B. Comstock Middle School was a place where wooden paddles were used to beat violence and cruelty into the next generation.

On that day in 1995, perched on a child-sized chair waiting to see the principal, Lee had plenty of time to contemplate the source of her anger and fear.

She says some of her colleagues at the school routinely were herding 40 to 50 students at a time into the cafeteria, hitting the children with 4-foot-long wooden paddles. She says that some paddles had holes drilled in the wood to make them swing faster, and that the paddlings came for even minor infractions.

Later, a judge writing an opinion in a court appeal described E.B. Comstock as a place where being tardy could result in tears; talking in class, blisters. Young skin could ache with tender purple and blue spots, all for throwing wastepaper toward a trash can and missing.

"I was hit when I asked for a bathroom break," said one boy, now 16, who was a student at E.B. Comstock and asked that his name not be published.

The former student said one teacher paddled all students who asked to go to the bathroom during class, then made them sign the paddle. Once, he said, he was paddled so hard that it left a blister.

Lawsuits brought by Lee under the Texas Whistleblowers Act and by at least four students at E.B. Comstock Middle School were filed in Dallas District Court in March 1996. The Dallas school district will not comment on the lawsuits or the status of any of the employees named in the suits. It has fought the suits in court stating they were improper because they were filed before administrative appeals were exhausted.

Corporal punishment in schools is legal in 23 states, mostly in the South.

The South remains not only the Bible Belt but also the Spanking Belt, a place where "spare the rod, spoil the child" is taken literally, and, sometimes, in the worst case, to extremes.

It's those extremes that worry school administrators. This summer, the Fort Worth school board agreed to abolish paddling, effective this school year. The Dallas school district is debating the use of paddling, and has launched focus groups and surveys to determine whether paddles have any place in schools. Most large, urban school districts, such as those in Houston, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso, have stopped hitting students. About half of the districts in the Metroplex still allow paddling.

U.S. Department of Education statistics show paddling in America has been diminishing steadily over the decades, abandoned by state law or by school district policy. Texas remains a state where corporal punishment is legal.

More than 114,000 children are paddled in Texas schools each year, more than anywhere else in the nation, according to statistics kept by the Office of Civil Rights, a part of the U.S. Department of Education.

The state's ranking comes not just because it is a populous state. In a per capita count, Texas ranks fifth in the nation for states where students are most likely to be spanked in school.

State law, under the penal and education codes, says only that deadly or excessive force shall not be used in schools. The Texas Education Agency has no policy on spanking. Instead, under the banner of local control, each of the state's more than 1,000 school districts decides how, and if, it should paddle its children.

The Texas Legislature occasionally has debated paddling, but hasn't set a statewide policy.

When legislators defend paddling, they tend to point out that they were paddled in school and that it didn't harm them.

"Paddling in school certainly helped me maintain the right focus. Pain has a way of helping develop focus," says state Rep. Harold Dutton, 54, a Houston Democrat who serves as the vice chairman of the Public Education Committee.

"I don't advocate beating. But I don't believe corporal punishment helps students become violent. If it did, me and my friends would be a bunch of mass murderers," says the former football player from Phillis Wheatly High School in Houston.

Arlington lawyer Howard Rosenstein holds another view.

In July 1996, Rosenstein, one of the attorneys in the E.B. Comstock case, appeared on 'The Phil Donahue Show' to talk about corporal punishment.

Rosenstein said he believes the E.B. Comstock case may be the one that finally -- and officially -- gets paddling banned in Dallas.

"Hundreds of millions are spent on educating our kids, and they tell us the best system we have includes beating them?" he asks.

Rosenstein says he believes paddling teaches all the wrong lessons. He says it teaches children to resolve conflict through violence. It teaches abusers and potential abusers that it's OK to beat. It teaches children that government operates through tyranny, not democracy. It demoralizes good teachers, and allows bad ones to use force rather than reason.

"The word discipline comes from the word disciple. That means teachers can best discipline children by being role models," Rosenstein says. "Good teachers maintain order without forcing students through indignities."

Lee believes indignity was part of the school culture at E.B. Comstock Middle School. She was hired there in August 1995. It didn't take long for her to recoil at the degree and frequency of punishment she says she saw.

She says she was saddened as well. The school's population comes from a low-income neighborhood with many recent immigrants. Many of the students were getting their first taste of American authority.

"The first image I got in my mind when I saw it was one from the days of slavery. It was an issue of control," Lee says.

In her deposition, Lee describes Principal Johnson walking into her classroom and yelling at her in front of students. Why couldn't she just accept it? There's a reason to paddle students.

"That's the way we do it in Dallas. That's the way we've always done it," the deposition quotes Johnson as saying.

Lee says things started happening at school. Sneaky and mean things. A picture of a turkey was put up on her door. Her bulletin board displays disappeared. No one would sit with her at lunch. Things got worse. Lee says three teachers told their students that they should beat up the art teacher. The students told her instead, she said.

Affidavits signed by E.B. Comstock students confirm Lee's reports, and Johnson, the former principal at the school, acknowledged in newspaper accounts that the school made frequent use of corporal punishment, including paddling 40 to 50 students at a time for offenses including tardiness.

Johnson said he wasn't aware that school district policy called for parents to be notified before their children were paddled. He also said he wasn't aware paddlings were only to take place in private, in an administrator's office.

Lee says she resigned because of the atmosphere of violence at the school.

The whereabouts of the former principal and two teachers named in the suit are not known because DISD will not release information on their status.

Lee started work at an Arlington grocery store last month. In her lawsuit, she asks that she be re-instated as a teacher in the Dallas school district.

She says she would like to teach again. She says she likes to see students excel and that she believes it can be done without paddling.

"It takes a little more ingenuity. You have to pay more attention, but there are ways to manage behavior without hitting."

If you don't want your child paddled

Check with your child's school to see whether it has a form letter that you can submit to be kept on file. If not, write your own letter. This sample was composed by the National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment, which recommends submitting the letter even if the district doesn't want to honor your wishes.

Dear (Principal's Name),

Our family does not believe that schoolchildren should be disciplined by paddling. We believe that it sends children the message that hitting people is a way to solve problems. We know that our child will make mistakes. When that happens, we hope you will help our child learn what is appropriate behavior and how to act more appropriately in the future. If you are having a problem with our child, please contact us and we will make every effort to come to school to help you. Please do not paddle our child.

Sincerely,

Name

Student's Name Address

Phone number

The rules

About half of the school districts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area have banned paddling. Where paddling is allowed, school officials say it is seldom used, and when it is, they require:

* The paddling must be done by an administrator, not a teacher.

* A witness must be present.

* The paddling must be done out of view of other students.

* Prior notice must be given to parents.

Here's a list of current policies:

Argyle: No paddling

Arlington: No paddling

Azle: Paddling allowed

Birdville: Each of 31 campuses sets its own policy on whether paddling is allowed

Carroll: No paddling

Crowley: No paddling

Dallas: Paddling allowed

Denton: No paddling

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw: Paddling allowed

Everman: Paddling allowed

Fort Worth: No paddling

Grand Prairie: Paddling allowed

Grapevine-Colleyville: No paddling

H-E-B: Paddling allowed

Irving: Paddling allowed**

Keller: Paddling allowed

Kennedale: Paddling allowed

Lake Worth: No paddling

Lewisville (Flower Mound): Paddling allowed

Mansfield: No paddling

Masonic Home: No paddling

Northwest: No paddling

White Settlement: Paddling allowed

**The district is reviewing its policy, and plans to require parent notification beginning in the 1999-2000 school year.

Compiled by Jessie Milligan

The state of paddling nationwide

Ten states where paddling was most common in the 1994-95 school year (the most recent year surveyed):

1. Arkansas: 56,262 students paddled (13.4 percent of student population)

2. Mississippi: 55,102 (10.9 percent)

3. Alabama: 30,541 (7.3 percent)

4. Tennessee: 44,842 (5.3 percent)

5. (tie) TEXAS: 114,213 (3.4 percent)

(tied with)

5. (tie) Georgia: 42,398 (3.4 percent)

7. Louisiana: 26,323 (3.3 percent)

8. Oklahoma: 15,765 (3 percent)

9. South Carolina: 9,995 (1.6 percent)

10. Missouri: 13,178 (1.4 percent)

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights

States that have abolished paddling in schools: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia.

States where more than half the school districts have banned paddling include: Arizona, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida.

Source: National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment, Columbus, Ohio

Compiled by Jessie Milligan




Corpun file 4360

masthead

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas, 12 August 1999

Irving schools keep paddling permissible

By Mike Lee
Staff Writer

IRVING -- Principals in Irving school district will be able to use corporal punishment when classes start Wednesday, five months after a mother complained that a principal bruised her son by paddling him in a school office.

But school officials must inform parents before they paddle a student -- a change from the past school year. School administrators can still paddle children if their parents object, but that probably will not happen, said Bill Althoff, district director of secondary education.

"Our policy does not require that. However, I feel that if a parent expresses that they do not want that to happen to their child, we would not do it," he said.

The district temporarily stopped using corporal punishment in March, when Ruth Maldonado complained that her 13-year-old son, Pedro, a student at Bowie Middle School, was bruised by Principal James Puryear.

Pedro Maldonado had been taken to the principal's office for fighting. District officials have said that he has a history of tardiness and other discipline problems. Puryear told Pedro Maldonado that he had a choice of taking a paddling or going to an alternative school. Puryear, who is 6 feet 2 inches tall, hit Pedro Maldonado three times with a 2-foot wood paddle.

Pedro Maldonado suffered bruises on his buttocks. A doctor at Children's Medical Center of Dallas and an investigator with Child Protective Services said that the paddling was severe enough to constitute child abuse. Child Protective Services sent a copy of its findings to the school district and the Texas Education Agency, but no disciplinary action has been taken against Puryear.

About half the school districts in the Metroplex allow paddling. In most districts that allow paddling, parents can exempt their children from corporal punishment. Dozens of education groups, including the National Education Association and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, oppose corporal punishment.

Irving Trustee Mike Kunstadt said the school board has the option of changing the policy, but no decision has been made on whether to review it. He said there is some justification for corporal punishment.

"I grew up in a system where it was permissible, and many positive things happened as far as discipline when [paddling] happened. It's a shame that it has to be administered, but I think it sends a pretty good message to others," he said.

Ruth Maldonado said the district shouldn't allow paddling if it will lead to the type of injuries her son suffered.

"There's a difference between spanking a child and abusing a child. If they call that a paddling, they shouldn't paddle," she said.

Manuel Benavides, president of the Irving chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said he was disappointed by the outcome, especially after Child Protective Services called the paddling abusive.

"Me, if I commit child abuse, I'm jailed," he said.

Bob Fathman, a clinical psychologist in Columbus, Ohio, and chairman of the National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment, said the district should at least allow parents to exempt their children from paddling.

"Parents have to give permission before a school can give a child an aspirin. They surely ought not to be able to pick up boards and hit children without [parents'] permission," he said. "There have been lots of studies [that show] districts that ban corporal punishment have lower rates of vandalism and higher graduation rates."

Puryear and Pedro Maldonado will be back at Bowie Middle School this year.



blob Previous: 26 March 1999 - Irving district investigating boy's paddling


Corpun file 4118

Philadelphia Daily News, Pennsylvania, 13 August 1999

District spends 20G to settle spanking case

By Jim Smith
Daily News Staff Writer

The School District and the city will pay $20,000 to settle claims that Overbrook High School security guards gave "the Daddy treatment" - a spanking with a wooden pole - to a student in 1996.

The settlement was approved yesterday by U.S. District Judge Anita Brody, resolving a lawsuit that was filed last year by Elizabeth China, of Walton Avenue near Felton Street, on behalf of her son, Jason.

School officials deny any spanking took place.

"The School District vehemently denies any liability," said spokesman Paul Hanson, noting that School District policy bans any form of corporal punishment.

"In these times, it's just too expensive to litigate and sometimes cheaper to settle," he added.

The case was settled "for a small fraction of the amount sought," Hanson noted.

Under terms of the settlement, Jason China will get $7,829, which will be invested for him in a mutual fund to help pay for college.

The rest goes to his lawyers to cover $8,314 in litigation costs and $3,856 in legal fees.

The legal fees represent a third of Jason's net recovery.

In court papers, Jonathan J. James, one of Jason's attorneys, told the judge the settlement was "reasonable" because Jason's injuries, "while physical and emotional, are not significant."

In the view of his lawyers, it was better to settle now rather than risk everything on a jury trial, James added.

The suit alleged that Jason and four other students were hauled out of an Overbrook classroom by security guards on Oct. 11, 1996, taken to a disciplinary office, and told to choose between "the Daddy treatment" and a five-day suspension.

All five got the spanking, the suit alleged, but Jason was the only one to sue.

The suit said Jason sustained injuries to his knees and legs, tendinitis, and emotional distress.

By the time the suit was filed in late March of last year, Jason had transferred to a private school and has since graduated.

The city contributed $5,000 to the settlement fund.




Corpun file 4160

masthead

Orlando Sentinel, Florida, 31 August 1999

Lake Mary coach on suspension

By Shannon Rose
of The Sentinel Staff

Greg Stanton wanted to teach Lake Mary's football players about accountability. Now he is showing them personally.

Stanton, in his second season as Lake Mary's head coach, is serving a five-day suspension for an inappropriate disciplinary tactic. He was suspended Thursday after school and district investigations concluded he was using a paddle to discipline athletes.

"It was a case of bad judgment," said Lake Mary Principal Raymond Gaines, who continues to support Stanton.

Players who were late to game-day meetings or acted inappropriately in class were given several choices of punishment for their actions. Among the choices was to receive one swat with a paddle.


Greg Stanton

The incidents, approximately a dozen since Stanton was hired in February 1998, were brought to the attention of the administration by an anonymous caller early last week.

"I am sad and remorseful for my inappropriate judgment in the use of this form of punishment," said Stanton, who is from Jacksonville. "It was something that was never done to intimidate or desecrate any member of the team. . . . What I hope is that this is a lesson for all of us about just how fast your life's passion can be jeopardized by one mistake."

Stanton is still teaching but has been suspended of his coaching duties. He has not attended practice or had meetings with his assistant coaches since the suspension began. He also couldn't attend the Kickoff Classic on Friday.

He will return to his duties Thursday, a day before Lake Mary opens the season against Seminole at 7:30 Friday night at Lake Mary.

Stanton, who has 13 years of coaching experience, has revived Lake Mary's program. In 1997, the Rams were winless, but they went 4-6 last year in Stanton's first season.

"I don't want this to take away from all of the good things we've accomplished at Lake Mary High School," Stanton said. "I am just very fortunate I am going to be given a second chance."




Corpun file 4156

The Toledo Blade, Ohio, 31 August 1999

Principal tied to spanking back at school

By Clyde Hughes
Blade Staff Writer

Principal Helen Sallee will welcome students back tomorrow to Warren Elementary School, where she was recommended for termination in the spring for going to the homes of students to spank them.

Toledo Public Schools outlawed corporal punishment in 1993.

"I am certain she wants to improve," said Richard Daoust, deputy superintendent. "Ms. Sallee made a mistake, and she acknowledges that, and she can improve at Warren. We want to work with her."

Ms. Sallee, reached at the school yesterday, declined to talk about the charges except to say that no reason exists for her to be moved from Warren or be fired.

"Why should I move?" she asked.

A disciplinary hearing was held April 13 at which Stanley Woody, Scott School Improvement Leader, testified that Ms. Sallee admitted she and a hall monitor visited the home of two students to spank them with permission. One of those visits was to the home of a girl who was spanked with her grandmother's permission.

Mr. Woody said that student was slapped in the face by the hall monitor several days later. The grandmother then filed a complaint with Lucas County Children Services.

He said his investigation of Ms. Sallee turned up other forms of punishment, such as running stairs and squat exercises, as well as staff members taking away lunches from students for bad behavior.

Ms. Sallee and the Toledo Association of Administrative Personnel complained that the hearing should have never taken place because Ms. Sallee signed an agreement March 8 to stop using corporal punishment.

Mr. Woody recommended Ms. Sallee be fired, but hearing officer Joanne Koch recommended a meeting with Mr. Daoust to "explore alternative employment" for Ms. Sallee.

Mr. Daoust said Ms. Sallee will have a mentor who will contact her at least once a week. He said he will meet with David McClellan, president of the Toledo Association of Administrative Personnel, soon to assign that mentor.

"We're working with Ms. Sallee," Mr. Daoust said. "We want to help her, and she wants to get better."

Ms. Sallee said charges against her stemmed from efforts by Twila Page, a member of the African-American Parents Association, to get rid of her.

"I really don't know her agenda," Ms. Sallee said. "There's only one person who wants me to leave Warren. She didn't even have kids in our schools last year."

Ms. Page, who helped organize a protest against Ms. Sallee before school closed in June, said the parents association met Aug. 18 with Mr. Daoust and Mr. Woody and were told Ms. Sallee is staying.

Mr. Woody could not be reached for comment.

"This is horrible," Ms. Page said. "This is really incredible. They told us before we sat down that she was staying. The rest of the time was us begging for the safety of our kids. But if we do something, it has to be parent-driven. I know morally I have to do something."

© 1999, The Blade, All Rights Reserved.



blob Follow-up: 11 September 1999 - Warren parents push for principal's removal

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