Grand jury no-bills principal in spanking case
By Alan Nieschwietz/Staff Reporter,, February 21, 2009

A Washington County grand jury has declined to indict an elementary school principal accused by a student’s parent of using excessive force in administering corporal punishment.

The jury refused to issue an indictment against Calvin Kossie, principal of Alton Elementary School.

The case stemmed from a parent’s complaint to police that Kossie used excessive force in spanking their child.

Family members of the child, 5, claimed the spanking Kossie gave their child left bruises on his buttocks.

The family members had signed a school district consent form giving school administrators permission to physically discipline the child, and as per district policy, they were phoned before the incident took place, district officials said.

Prior to being no billed by the grand jury, an internal investigation conducted by the Brenham school district had cleared Kossie of wrongdoing in the matter.

Kossie has been an educator for 35 years, and principal at Alton for the past seven, during each of which the school was rated “recognized” or “exemplary.”

District Attorney William Parham said he had no comment on the matter other to say that “as in any grand jury, we (the prosecutors) are not part of the deliberations,” and therefore couldn’t offer a specific reason for the grand jury’s no-billing of Kossie.

The job of a grand jury is not to decide guilt or innocence, but to determine if prosecutors have enough evidence to charge a suspect with a crime and to take them to trial for it.

Parham said the grand jury’s action, or lack thereof in this situation, speaks for itself.

Brenham school district officials declined to comment, although Jon Forsythe, director of student services, said administrators were confident policy guidelines were followed.

In other legal news, the case of Arvis Hutson Jr., 54, Somerville, has been postponed until Feb. 27 because his lawyer was in Houston and would not be able to make it to the courtroom in time for a session Friday, Parham said.

Hutson made news last February when he was indicted and charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping, conduct he allegedly engaged in while serving in an official capacity as a reserve officer in the Somerville Police Department.

There was the possibility that at Friday’s hearing, Hutson would let the court know whether he would agree to a plea bargain, if one was offered, or let a jury decide his guilt or innocence.

A young woman accused Hutson making her get into his patrol car where he then took her to another location and touched her inappropriately.

That investigation by Texas Ranger Frank Malinak also turned up a second woman who claimed Hutson did the same thing to her a year earlier.

Hutson is on administrative leave from the Somerville Police Department, but is still serving on the board of trustees for the Somerville school district.

A source told The Banner-Press that one of the alleged victims is unhappy with the terms of a plea bargain agreement that is being discussed.

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