Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TN: Child Bruised From Teacher's Paddling

/17/2009 Reported By Jonathan Martin

LAFAYETTE, Tenn. -- A kindergarten teacher in Macon County has been suspended for a week after her bosses said she paddled a girl so hard it left bruises.

Video: Teacher Suspended After Child Bruised

Micky Biggers said he has never had a problem with his 5-year-old daughter, Courtney, being spanked at school if she is acting up, but feels what happened to her was far beyond corporal punishment.

"There were bruises on her butt. What did they do to her?" asked Biggers.

Courtney is in kindergarten at Fairlane Elementary in Lafayette. School officials said last Thursday the child was misbehaving and making barking noises in the cafeteria.

The child's teacher, Teresa Gregory, paddled her, but minutes later another teacher reportedly overheard Courtney tell her classmate the first spanking didn't even hurt.

Gregory then paddled her again, this time so hard that bruises were left on the girl's bottom.
Her father took cell phone photos to prove the child’s injuries.

"Common sense would tell you if somebody says it doesn’t hurt, you don’t continue to whoop them until it does," said Biggers.

Macon County Director of Schools Darrel Law admits the teacher used poor judgment and may have acted out of anger. He said the girl should not have been paddled a second time.

"The bruises initiated because of the second paddling, and she didn't have any intention to bruise a child at all," said Law.

Gregory has been suspended for five days without pay, but Biggers said that is a slap on the wrist.

He said his daughter is now afraid to go to school.

"If I was to abuse my child, or someone else was to abuse my child, they would be behind bars. They would be picked up for abuse or assault," said Biggers.

Gregory apologized to the girl's parents and Courtney has been removed from her class.

Lafayette police are investigating the case. The district attorney will decide whether the teacher faces any criminal charges.

The Macon County school board plans to meet next month to review the district's policies on corporal punishment.

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