Tue, Oct 2, 2012
According to The News Star, Morehouse Parish Schools and the Bastrop Police Department are checking into allegations that last month a Bastrop High School teacher slapped a 17-year-old student with cerebral palsy.
April Lee, the mother of student Jasmine Lee, said she was told by another teacher and a case management worker that her daughter had been slapped by a teacher.
Lee said her daughter was moved to another classroom at the school and she was not told of the incident.
“I went to the board office and asked why they haven’t contacted me,” she said. “They said the teacher tapped her in the face and grabbed her by the arm.”
Jasmine, who does not speak, indicated to her mother that something had happened by touching her own face repeatedly. Lee said initially she didn’t understand what her daughter was saying, but after she learned of the incident, it all made sense.
Lee said she took Jasmine to the emergency room, but no evidence was found. She said the incident happened about a month earlier.
Superintendent George Noflin confirmed Monday that an investigation is underway.
“I am aware of the situation and we are going through our investigation,” he said. “Because it is a personnel matter, I can’t speak on it. But, once the investigation is complete, appropriate action, if any is necessary, will be taken.”
Noflin would not comment on whether the teacher is still on the job during the investigation, but Lee said it is her understanding that the teacher remains at work.
“She doesn’t need to be in the school,” she said. “I want her fired. I want justice.”
Lee has filed a criminal complaint alleging simple battery. The status on the police report indicates it is pending. Police Chief Downey Black said the report, which was filed on Wednesday, has not been closed.
“We’re still looking into it,” he said.
In speaking about the incident, Noflin referred to the district’s corporal punishment policy which is online at the district’s website.
“In adherence to its commitment to education it is the duty of the Morehouse Parish School Board to provide an atmosphere which promotes the learning process and provides for security, orderly conduct, discipline and respect for and among students and their teachers,” the policy reads.
The policy allows for corporal punishment within guidelines which include “by hand or with a paddle approximately 20 inches long, 4 inches wide and not exceeding 1/2 inch in thickness, such punishment to not consist of more than 3 swats on the buttocks.” Permission must be first obtained from the school’s principal and at least one adult witness should be present during the administration of the punishment.