A man from O'Fallon, MO., was charged with felony assault after police said, he shoved a school counsellor who tried to stop him from beating his 8-year-old son with a belt in the school's restroom. [Emphasis added.]
The child told police he was being disciplined for not having shoelaces in his tennis shoes.
Police identified the man charged as Mickey Johnson, 44, of the first block of Southern Hill Court. The incident happened Thursday morning at Rock Creek Elementary School, 8970 Mexico Road in O'Fallon. The school has 680 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Police say that when Johnson visited the school, he stopped at the school's office to get a visitor's badge, and then, about 9:15 a.m., took his son to a restroom, where he told the boy to pull down his pants so he could spank him. Johnson then took off his belt and began hitting the boy, police said.
A female counselor at the school heard cries coming from the bathroom, but at first was intimidated by Johnson's 6-foot-6, 245-pound frame, police said. But the beating continued for what witnesses told police was "two full minutes," and the counselor intervened.
She told Johnson to stop and reached for the boy, police said, Johnson shoved the woman, causing her stumble backwards. She again tried to grab the boy, police said, but retreated when Johnson told her to get away, telling her that it was none of her business.
The counsellor ran down the hall to the office, where she called police and got the school principal.
The principal, Deanne McCullough, went to the restroom and got Johnson to agree to come to her office. Police say that once there, Johnson threw his visitor's badge on her desk and told her that "he could do whatever he wanted with his child, and she had no say in his discipline."
Johnson left a short tme later, but was stopped by police as he was leaving the school parking lot. He denied shoving the school counsellor and said he did not think what he had done was wrong or excessive, Police said.
He further stated that his son "will be respectful, get straight A's, be a gentleman and get a full scholarship to college." He said that he would continue to beat the boy "if that is what it takes."
Johnson was arrested and was being held Friday in lieu of $10,000 bail in the St. Charles County Jail. Johnson has no prior criminal record, police said.
The boy was examined by the school nurse who noted several welts on his buttocks. The boy told them his father had said he was going to finish the spanking when he got home from school.
The Division of Children and FAmily Services was notified about the incident.
School officials and police say it is common for parents to visit the school.
"A lot of parents come," said Fort Zumwalt School District Superintendent Bernard Dubray. "They don't usually go into the classrooms, but a lot of parents will have lunch with their kids for a "special treat."
Reporter, Susan Weich
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