Cape Coral teacher gets probation for spanking disabled student
Associated Press

February 16, 2003

FORT MYERS - A former teacher has been sentenced to anger management therapy and probation for spanking an emotionally disabled student more than 50 times.

James Walworth, 30, of Cape Coral, pleaded no contest in a plea agreement to child abuse in the May 23 incident at Diplomat Elementary School. He resigned in July and said he planned to leave special education.

The teacher, who worked with emotionally handicapped children with behavioral problems, took a 12-year-old boy into a teachers' bathroom, locked the door, pulled down the boy's underwear, laid the child over his lap and spanked him.

He later told the boy's mother what happened. The boy told investigators that he'd been misbehaving by whistling, talking and eating candy in class. A state nurse practitioner examined the boy and said his bruises were consistent with 50 strikes. Lee County schools ban corporal punishment.

Walworth, who taught at the school since 1997, must attend a 16-week anger management program and will be on probation for three years.

Prosecutor Robert Mobley said, "I think it's a fair resolution."

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