Investigation into School Spanking
Bainbridge Community News, February 20, 2009

Bruising on Child's Bottom

The mother of a 9 year old student has filed complaints regarding her child's severe bruising after three spankings received during one day at school.

Last Friday, the child, who attends Potter Street Elementary School, was sent to the office 3 times due to disciplinary problems.  Each of the 3 times the assistant principal issued a spanking, which we believe to be 2 hits each.  We believe there was also a disciplinary spanking of 2 hits on Thursday afternoon.

The child came home Friday complaining that his bottom hurt.  On Sunday evening, he was still complaining about the pain and the child was taken to the emergency room.  About midnight on Sunday, the mother filed a report on the incident with Bainbridge Public Safety.

The child has been diagnosed with ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and is on medication.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, children's ADHD symptoms include impulsiveness, a child acts quickly without thinking first, hyperactivity and inattention.

The school system does administer corporal punishment, but only after a parent gives permission.  For this child, there have been several conferences with parents and there was a behavioral plan in place.

School Superintendent Ralph Jones told us the situation is under investigation, saying they have spent over a full day interviewing those involved and any witnesses.  As of Thursday afternoon, there were still several persons to interview.  Superintendent Jones and Human Resources Director Dr Linda Lumpkin are handling the investigation. 

Superintendent Jones stressed his intent to document all the facts of the situation, saying that he instructed witnesses to be totally honest in their statements.  "Don't just tell me what you think I want to hear." he told them.  He plans to review and discuss his findings with the Board of Education at their next meeting on February 19.  He stated the Board sets all policies for the School System to follow.

Superintendent Jones stated he is extremely sorry for the bruising.  Superintendent Jones stated the administrator did follow Board of Education guidelines, which includes a witness for any spanking.  "But" Superintendent Jones stated, "I am very disappointed that better judgement was not used."  He indicated his belief that multiple spankings in one day is too much.

Board of Education procedures dictate that when there is an investigation, a letter be issued to the person stating the matter is under investigation.  Personnel issues are never open to the public.

There is also a Sheriff's Department investigation underway and the mother has hired an attorney to represent her in the matter.

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