Violent coaching in Seymour, Texas
Correspondence received by PTAVE from two parents, January 27, 1989 Susan Chambers enclosed a photograph showing her son's bruised buttocks.


My son was a participant in the basketball program at Seymour High School in Seymour, Texas. In December 1985 he was involved in a motor vehicle accident and hospitalized in Throckmorton, Texas with a severe cerebral concussion. He returned to school December 18, 1985 with a note from Dr. S. K. Ghosh stating why and when he was hospitalized. The day he returned to school he was kept after school by coach Jerry Skelton for punishment because he was failing English III (Sandra Jones class). He was initially given one lick with a board from Coach Skelton and told to run laps around the gym until he was told to stop. He ran numerous lengths (so many my son couldn't remember) and then was told to stop, and then was asked "Do you want to run more laps or get another lick?" He chose another lick because he told us he couldn't possibly run any more and would have passed out because he had such a headache and was totally exhausted. He came straight home from school, he was very pale, sweaty and crying.

The next day he was seen by Dr. C. M. Randal, Jr. and Charles Barron and Newman Young was notified of the matter by me. Newman Young assured me that the matter would be taken care of. I then called the Child Abuse Center in Austin and the Department of Human Services. R. L. McClung came to our home to investigate the situation and took pictures of my son's bruises. Approximately one week later Mr. McClung returned to our home showing us a paper that said "Jerry Skelton was never to spank another child at Seymour High School" and that it would be put in the computer in Austin to be part of his permanent record.

When my son returned to the basketball program he was never allowed to play in another game. Mr. Skelton kept him on the bench until he finally quit.

If I had known what a prison this school has become I would never have moved back here from Michigan and exposed my children to such physical and mental abuse. Because you see, everyone made it so hard on him at this school, they tried every way possible to keep him from graduating, but he had enough determination to beat them at their own games. The really sad thing is he may have graduated and beat them at their game but he lost all his self esteem.

His senior year was not only a nightmare for him but for all of us and I truly am sorry for having moved back here and allowing this to happen to him but I promise I will keep trying until something is done in this school system before a child is seriously injured or killed. If you go back and review the records you have at this school you will find the answer to why for such a small town we have a drug and alcohol problem with our children. They turned to this because they know they can't turn to you or anyone else in the school system.

Mrs. Susan Chambers

Note: Enclosed with the following letter was a copy of the Dr. Daniel B. Jackson's statement to the insurer regarding Detreck Morrell's knee injury.

To Whom It May Concern

My Son was injured in football in Oct-88. He had surgery on his right knee. The doctor removed his brace on 6th Dec-88 at which time the doctor informed me my son had tendinitis in his left side. On Dec 14th-88 my son received a swat from a large board from a coach for receiving a three week failing notice in Physical Science. I asked the coaches not to do this. I did not want to take a chance on another injury to his knee or any damage to his left side. My son is still under a doctor's care for surgery on his knee and won't be released until May or June of 89.

I sent a registered letter in 1984 and requested that my son not receive corporal punishment. But the letter was not worth the paper it was written on. The principal sent a letter back to me saying it was entirely up to the principal.

Judy Morrell

NOTE: In an article, "Seymour board debates corporal punishment," which appeared in the Times Record News, February 18, 1989, Jenisu Morris and Connie Futch defended the district's use of corporal punishment. Futch was quoted in the article as saying: "Every instance of discipline in our schools has been positive." Morris and Futch were identified as "parents of schoolchildren." It was not mentioned, however, that Morris is married to a teacher and Futch had been the elementary school principal's secretary for several years.
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