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School CP - October 2000

Corpun file 6274

Dunn Daily Record, Dunn, North Carolina, 27 October 2000

Mom Says Paddling Went Too Far

By Marla Pretty
Of The Record Staff

One Plain View Elementary parent is upset over the paddling of her child after the principal administered corporal punishment which left marks.

According to mother Shelby Tyndall, her daughter, Tiffany, who is part of a class for emotionally and mentally deficient (EMD), was spanked two days in a row last week, the last of which the mother did not know about beforehand and which left welts on her buttocks, Mrs. Tyndall said. "My child was not given a chance to explain herself before the punishment," Mrs. Tyndall said. "And I was not notified of the spanking Wednesday like I was on Tuesday."

Principal Tim Lee said he was not required to notify the mother about the second spanking. Apparently, Tiffany, a first-grader, had a dispute with another child on Tuesday and struck the other student. A notice was sent home to the parents giving them the option of a one-day suspension or a paddling. Thinking it was the right choice, Mrs. Tyndall said she agreed to the spanking but asked to be present. Mr. Lee, who was to give the spanking, told her she could not be in the room, but she could stand outside the door. "It only took a minute and it was over," Mrs. Tyndall said. "She came out crying, but there were no marks on her."

Wednesday, when Tiffany came home and her mother asked her how her day was, she drew up in fear. After a few moments, she told her mother she got in trouble again and Mr. Lee had paddled her again. "I pulled her pants down and she had red welts on her," Mrs. Tyndall said. "We were not given a reason for the spanking."

According to Mrs. Tyndall, Tiffany said another little girl called her a "cry baby" and she responded by calling her a "butt hole." Mrs. Tyndall feels the punishment was more severe than necessary. "She didn't even use a cuss word," Mrs. Tyndall said. "Tiffany is not a troublemaking student. She can't sit in her seat and she is constantly asking questions, but she has never really been violent. Besides, who determines how much force is too much force? This is a first-grader."

Mr. Lee said name-calling is a paddling offense.

Mrs. Tyndall filed a complaint with the sheriff's department and met with a deputy Tuesday of this week.

Since the spankings, Tiffany cries and won't return to school, afraid that the punishment is going to be a daily thing. Mrs. Tyndall took her child to a doctor at ABC Pediatrics Thursday who recommended transferring Tiffany to a different school. "I know it is the law to send your children to school, but I can't send her up there scared to death like that," Mrs. Tyndall said. "She is afraid this is going to continue."

School Speaks

Principal Tim Lee responded to charges saying he could not talk about individual disciplinary actions. However, he said he believed in corporal punishment. "(Corporal punishment) should never be used unless it is an alternative to sending a child home," Mr. Lee said. "They can't learn a thing if we don't have them here."

Mr. Lee said his office simply followed procedure and policy when paddling. "I have never had too many people to find objection to (corporal punishment)," Mr. Lee said. "They are normally thankful we are keeping them in school."

Mr. Lee said in situations where corporal punishment appears to be necessary, a notice is sent home to parents. The release to paddle, according to Mr. Lee, is used as an overall approval for future paddlings until a parent calls and says to stop. "We do it (referring to corporal punishment) until they don't want to do that any longer," Mr. Lee said. "We try to give parents a choice whenever it is possible."

The list of offenses that can result in punishment include any disruptive behavior, violent or verbal, as well as name-calling and any disrespectful behavior. "Other matters are handled in a different manner," Mr. Lee said. "And, we have some that are continual cases. In almost every situation (of corporal punishment) there is a pattern of repeated problems."

Paddling Policy

According to Sampson County School Director of Student Services Tommy Daughtry, the school system is not required to notify parents before a paddling is given; however, policy states that parents are to be notified after the incident occurs.

Mr. Daughtry said a number of school systems have removed corporal punishment as a means of discipline. Sampson County allows for the method "in rare cases where no reasonable appeals are successful," according to policy.

The policy further states "corporal punishment as a means of controlling students is discouraged" and the punishment "may be used as a last resort, provided the following procedures are observed."

School manual guidelines say students who are given corporal punishment can only be paddled by a teacher, assistant principal or a principal and a witness must be present. The student must be told why the punishment is being given and cannot be paddled in front of other students.

Mrs. Tyndall has contacted an attorney and is considering a civil lawsuit in the case.

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