Father spanks his daughter in front of high school class
By Linda Spice, lspice@journalsentinel.com
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 24, 2004

Cudahy district will no longer allow parents to meet with students anywhere but in office

Cudahy - A father concerned about his daughter's behavior at Cudahy High School called her out of her seat in biology class and spanked her in front of shocked classmates and an assistant principal, officials confirmed Monday.

Both Cudahy police and the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare have reviewed the case at the school district's request, and neither found basis for child abuse or neglect.

"Obviously it's unusual to have a girl spanked in front of the class, it's highly unusual, but not a police matter, not at this time from the information we received," said Cudahy police Sgt. Randy Scheel.

The district, however, has changed its visitation procedure for parents. Now they can meet with students only in the office, not a classroom, according to James P. Heiden, director of student services.

"The students were horrified," Heiden said, and some were angry that administrators couldn't intervene quickly enough to stop it. "It took everybody by complete surprise."

Heiden said he did not want to second-guess child welfare authorities' decision not to pursue the matter. "I understand, in the realm of all the cases they need to deal with, but it's frustrating.

Contacted at home Monday night, the girl's mother said police found nothing to investigate, calling it an isolated incident. She said her daughter "comes from a very loving family. There's nothing to be concerned about." She added that the incident had been blown out of proportion and "the school handled it just fine."

She described the spanking as a "misjudgment" for which the family apologized to the school.

Police said they had no record of prior contact with anyone in the family.

According to school officials, the girl had disrupted her biology class Feb. 11, leading first-year assistant principal Greg DePue to notify her father when he was at school the next day addressing a situation with another child.

DePue said the father responded: " 'You know what? There won't be a problem in today's class because I'm going to be in there.' "

Later that day, DePue took the parents to their daughter's class. The teacher stepped out to speak with them, while DePue watched the class. After a minute and a half, DePue said, the father entered the classroom, called his daughter to the front and told her he would not have her disrupting class.

He then told the girl to turn around, and spanked her on her bottom.

"It was so fast," DePue said. "It just happened."

DePue said he immediately went to the office with the parents, and their daughter waited in a separate office while police were called.

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