Paddling leads to abuse charge for Fort Myers school principal
By Associated Press
July 24, 2003
Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A church school principal has been charged with aggravated child abuse for paddling a student, authorities said.

Elizabeth Chaney, 57, principal of the Mount Hermon Christian School in Fort Myers, was arrested Tuesday in connection with a June 24 paddling at the school's summer camp program, police said. She was later released on her own recognizance.

The unidentified student developed large bruises on his buttocks after he was disciplined for clapping inappropriately during a class, according to a Fort Myers police report. He is between the ages of 6 and 12, according to police spokeswoman Kara Winton.

According to the police report, the boy was sent to Chaney's office because of the clapping. Chaney called the boy's mother and offered to let her pick him up or let Chaney paddle him. The mother told Chaney to discipline the youth.

The mother discovered and photographed the bruises when the child spoke to her about the incident, the report said.

The state's Child Protection Team investigated the paddling two days later and ruled the bruises consistent with abuse, the report said.

Chaney, a career educator who served as coordinator of the Lee County School District's Dunbar Community School before moving to Mount Hermon in 2000, faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000 on the first-degree felony charge.


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