(Mississippi) Paddling of local student set to be discussed on national TV
By Shea Stewart
The Oxford Eagle, November 26, 2002

The paddling of a Lafayette Middle School student will be part of "The John Walsh Show" television show on Wednesday. [ November 28, 2002]

Shane Onsby, along with his mother Loretta, journeyed to New York City last week to tape the show titled "Parent Alert: When Teachers Cross the Line."

Onsby filed misdemeanor simple assault charges against LMS coach Jason Goodwin, who administered the paddling, said Oxford attorney Ron Lewis. The Onsby's have retained the services of Lewis.

The Onsbys could not be reached for comment today.

In a probable cause hearing before Circuit Court Judge Henry L. Lackey on Tuesday, Oct. 22, no criminal charges were filed against the coach, Lewis said, who did not represent the Onsbys in Circuit Court. Lewis is uncertain whether the family might file a civil suit.

"They retained me to do what appears to be appropriate," Lewis said. "I have not made a determination to see what actions we might take at this time. I certainly believe what happen was unwarranted and went beyond punishment to abuse in my opinion."

Onsby was allegedly severely paddled by the football coach after being late to football practice because of detention, Lewis said. Onsby was one of six students disciplined by the coach on Tuesday, Oct. 8.

The students were initially sent to in-school detention on Monday, Oct. 7, as punishment for not turning in homework in a history class on the previous Friday, Lewis said. The six students practiced football on Tuesday before receiving the paddling from the coach, Lewis said. Each student received three licks.

The Lafayette County School District allows for corporal punishment. Mississippi is one of 23 states where corporal punishment is legal.

"It is a law in Mississippi we can use corporal punishment," Lafayette County School District Superintendent Mike Foster said. "We have a procedure in place that if a parent does not want their child paddled they can write a letter saying that. Ms. Onsby did not write a letter. The matter was handled in accordance with our policy."

Lewis said in his opinion, the corporal punishment administered by the coach was excessive.

"I'm not a advocate of corporal punishment in schools at all," Lewis said. "I recognize it is allowed under careful procedural instructions. After reviewing the Lafayette School District manual, if it has not been rewritten since the incident, I believe it should be to protect (students) from arbitrarily and excessive corporal punishment. What happen to this boy should not happen at public schools or any school for that matter."

Although not available through local TV stations, "The John Walsh Show" can be seen on Direct TV at 10 a.m. (Channel 382) and noon (Channel 383) Wednesday. Wednesday's show deals with what some parents have deemed excessive actions at schools around the nation including searches at a high school dance for thong underwear and in-school suspensions being served in a former janitor's closet.

A promo for Wednesday's show reads: "With incidents of violence against teachers on the rise and the recent wave of school shootings in parents' minds, many parents say drastic times call for drastic measures. The question then becomes: were the teachers in today's stories justified in their behavior or did they cross the line?"

The Oxford Eagle 916 Jackson Ave.
Oxford, Miss. 38655
Fax: (662) 234-4351
Phone: (662) 234-4331

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