Shaw School Board discusses discipline issue
by Courtney Warren
May 02, 2014 | 4014 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The issue of two students receiving what is believed by their parents to be inappropriate discipline was discussed at the Shaw School District Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday.

No decision was made at the meeting but this was a time for the parents of the children to be heard.

According to Michelle Fisher, her child was in math class at McEvans Elementary School when he passed a clean sheet of paper to another student, Myeashia Taylor's son.

Both students are in the sixth grade.

Both students were sent to the office and once there, were paddled by Coach Ricky Lunford.

According to the McEvans Elementary Handbook, "Before administering corporal punishment the building principal or his/her designee shall advise the student of what he or she is accused of and permit the student to explain his or her version of the circumstances of the case to determine if the punishment is deserved. The students shall be advised that he/she has the option of suspension from school for a specified period of time rather than corporal punishment but that absences shall be unexcused and no academic work except for basic skills tested by the SSD's instructional management testing program can be made up."

Fisher said as part of the discipline procedure, when a student is sent to the office they are sent with a referral slip and neither of the boys had one.

Fisher also addressed the board and read off the information from the handbook regarding corporal punishment.

"My child's rights were violated. He wasn't given a referral and he wasn't given the option of suspension," said Fisher.

Fisher and James both said they were never notified of the paddling and didn't find out until their children came home.

"He was saying his bottom hurt," said James.

Both children's buttocks' were covered in bruises.

A bruise forms when a blow breaks blood vessels near the skin's surface, allowing a small amount of blood to leak into the tissues under the skin.

The trapped blood appears as a black-and-blue mark.

Fisher took photos of her child's bruises and brought them before the board.

Both parents attempted to contact the principal and the superintendent and were told the situation would be handled, however the coach remained at the school and as far as the parents know, no discipline action was taken.

School board members told the parents that because of the rules and regulations of the school board, all personnel discipline is confidential, so whatever disciplinary actions are taken, the parents will not be informed, therefore never knowing if they should take action.

Even though the parents signed a corporal punishment agreement at the beginning of the year, they both said they never imagined their children would be paddled this severely.

"We have requested that they be immediately be terminated," said Fisher.

Fisher said not only had her child been paddled, her other children have been pulled from classes and questioned about the incident by other teachers.

"They shouldn’t be bringing my other kids into it," said Fisher.

Fisher said while her child was getting paddled he claims the two witnesses in the room laughed at him.

Fisher has filed charges and the Bolivar County Justice Court confirmed a complaint against Ricky Lunford had been filed but a warrant for his arrest has not been issued.

James said she plans to file charges next week.

The Bolivar Commercial will have more as the story develops.