Holmes County teacher accused of paddling an excessive number of students

By: Erica Rakow Email
By: Erica Rakow Email

Bonifay-- In 2009, the state legislature gave school districts the option of banning corporal punishment, or paddling. Some, like Okaloosa County, banned the practice immediately. Others haven't. Holmes county is one that hasn't.

"Corporal punishment is allowed in Holmes County as long as they follow the procedures which incorporates: Does a student understand why they're being paddled? Do they have a witness? We have a mandatory cap of 2 licks in Holmes county," said Superintendent of Holmes County Schools, Gary Galloway.

But one Holmes County teacher is now prohibited from giving any licks. That, after being accused of paddling 11 students at Bonifay Middle School last Monday. On Tuesday, he allegedly paddled a 7th grade male student, leaving bruising.

"A mother came in person with her son to document an injury to her child's leg that allegedly occurred while the child was paddled at school," said Bonifay Police Chief, Chris Wells.

Galloway says he only heard from one parent. After investigating the allegation, Galloway decided to revoke the teacher's right to paddle students.

"There was no excessive force used as far as we can determine. We did think the number was somewhat out of line," said Galloway.

Galloway continued to say, "She said she didn't want to pursue it any further. She was satisfied. She did not think the teacher meant to do any harm to her student and certainly didn't want to get anyone in trouble".

"Her words were, she wanted it documented so that there was no allegation made against her for child abuse or for causing the injury," said Chief Wells.

To Galloway’s knowledge, this is the first time this particular teacher has been flagged. The complaint and investigation will become part of the teacher's personnel file.

The U.S. Department of Education says 200,000 school paddling’s occur each year. Florida is one of 20 states that still allows corporal punishment but the number of paddling’s has rapidly decreased.

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