Sheriff won't act on complaint by parents of paddled student
The Associated Press
August 29, 2001

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) -- The Caddo Parish Sheriff's Department will take no criminal action on a complaint by parents who said a middle school official used excessive force when he spanked their son.

Officials with Donnie Bickham Middle School said the punishment was given Monday with the advance permission of the parents and was carried out in strict accordance with the Caddo guidelines for corporal punishment.

"The parent was called beforehand and given an option of in-school suspension or corporal punishment," Principal Jimmy Windham said. "She chose corporal punishment."

Windham said the punishment was administered by Assistant Principal Perry Daniel with a paddle that met policy standards and was performed in the presence of a witness.

Nevertheless, Marie Beers said she plans to file an official complaint with the Caddo School Board and is considering legal action in the incident regarding corporal punishment of 13-year-old James Beers.

Corporal punishment has been a hot-button topic of late. Parents in Sabine Parish sued the principal of Zwolle Elementary School alleging that corporal punishment was used as a means of correction too often and inappropriately.

On Tuesday, Marie Beers said she called the sheriff because her son still had raised welts on his rear end. "Come on now, two licks is two licks, not breaking the paddle over my son's butt."

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) -- The only type of corporal punishment that may be used in Caddo schools is the striking of a student's buttocks with a paddle no more than three times. The paddle must be 24 inches long, 5 inches wide and 3/8 of an inch thick. There must only be one paddle per school...

According to a preliminary investigation performed by a Caddo sheriff's deputy, the paddle had been cracked before it was used and broke on the second swat, sheriff's office spokeswoman Cindy Chadwick said. "The sheriff's office is not going to file charges," Chadwick said.

Marie Beers said her James failed to deliver some additional homework assigned by his teacher as punishment for talking in class Friday.

"They called me and told me that for not doing the writing he was supposed to do, he could do in-school suspension and finish the writing or get two licks, finish the writing and just go back to class. I told them to go ahead and give him the two licks."

Beers said her son called her later in the afternoon complaining that his rear still hurt and that the paddle had cracked in half on the second swat.

"When I got home, I made him pull his pants down and show me his butt," Marie Beers said. "He still had a red mark with a big white welt on it, and that was eight hours later."

Tuesday, Marie Beers said the welts still were visible. "I've whipped my son before, but I've never left marks like that on him."

Windham said he investigated the complaint but found the punishment was carried out in compliance with the policy in every detail. "I talked to the witness, who is a female who works here on the staff, and she did not believe there was excessive force used."

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