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School CP - November 2006
Nashville Scene, Tennessee, 2 November 2006
A-Dressing the School Board
What one Metro Council member hopes the new school board will address
By Adam Dread
Why aren't our schools better? There are many reasons, but perhaps one of the most "fixable" problems is discipline. I have kidded folks that I may run for the school board with the simple slogan, "Adam Dread... Because Some Kids Just Need an Ass Whoopin." My only fear is that with that slogan, I would probably win. Frankly, I don't want the job. Rest assured, you don't need to paddle every kid, but the fear of being paddled works wonders. It sure worked on me and my classmates.
Another problem is drugs. Not just the illegal ones, but the legal ones as well. Parents, quit doping up your kids. As a society we over-diagnose and medicate for Attention Deficit Disorder. When I was a kid, ADD was called just being "energetic and creative." Frankly, the majority of kids with these types of learning disabilities, studies have shown, can be treated with proper diet, exercise and therapy. (Don't tell your pharmaceutical sales friends...it'll kill 'em.) We didn't need to take pills to pay attention in class. "Paddles, not pills." The possibility of being disciplined kept our attention. While we're at it, get the kids off of the junk food and video games. No wonder they're bouncing off walls.
This need for discipline can be greatly reduced by reducing distractions and disruptions. One sure cure for this is school uniforms. Any red-blooded American teenager is gonna have a hard time behaving if the girl across the row from him is dressed like a hooker. If kids weren't allowed dress like Britney Spears or "gangsta" thugs, distractions would surely decline. As an added bonus, parents wouldn't have to fight with their children every morning about what they are going wear. Another bonus: school uniforms levels the socioeconomic playing field. Â
My uniform suggestion is this. In all Nashville public schools, from kindergarten through 12th, all students wear khaki long pants or shorts (or skirts for the girls), blue or white button downs, and brown or black shoes. Each school would have their own school tie. All boys would wear belts. Belts are an amazing invention that keep pants up. You wouldn't know they existed in most public high schools today.
Some folks may argue that they can't afford uniforms. Bull hockey. They cost less than traditional school clothes, and frankly, could be provided for free to some if they could demonstrate that they really couldn't afford them. Five complete school uniforms would cost less than a pair of designer Air Garbage shoes. It's worked in other countries. I've seen it. Bermuda has this identical school uniform and boasts an almost 100 percent literacy rate and very little school violence. Makes you think, doesn't it? By they way, if these suggestions don't work, we could always start paddling the parents.
This is the (lightly edited) piece that Metro Council member Adam Dread submitted to The Tennessean.
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Shelbyville Times-Gazette, Tennessee, 3 November 2006
Student apologizes for father's actions
By Clint Confehr
A Community High School student has set down a burden he says had weighed heavy on his heart since last year, when his father accused the school's vice principal of child abuse during the boy's paddling.
"He said he was going to sue the school and I was, like, 'No, let's don't,' because I knew what the bruise was from, but he said, 'We'll get money out of this,'" said Samuel Lee "Leroy" Manus, 15, son of Freddy Manus, an inmate at Rutherford County Jail.
Best known at school as Lee, the freshman had been sent to vice principal Keith Williams' office last fall because of an incident on a school bus. That resulted in corporal punishment the next day, Oct. 19, 2005, a Wednesday. Freddy Manus claimed he'd not been told of an injury suffered by his son until Sunday, Oct. 23.
Lee Manus has now told officials and publicly stated that bruises found by a doctor in Smyrna were a result of repeated bouncing against part of a four-wheeler, and not child abuse as diagnosed by Dr. Corbi D. Milligan of Smyrna. Freddy Manus released Dr. Milligan's diagnosis and it was reported by the Times-Gazette and WTVF (Channel 5) in Nashville. Subsequently, the Times-Gazette reported that results of a state investigation revealed no child abuse. No additional details could be released by the state.
"He's done all he can to make it right," the wrongly-accused vice principal said while discussing Lee Manus' description of the chain of events. "It's been a very unfortunate situation.
"After a year, it looks like Lee was perhaps as much a victim as I was," Williams said, noting that the freshman's return to school this fall has revealed a marked change in his educational success.
"He's having a good year," Williams said, crediting much of that to Tammie and Ricky Burton of Virgil Crowell Road.
"The Burtons are really good people," Williams said. "It's a very positive home for Lee."
Ricky Burton runs his own horseshoeing business. Tammie Burton is a real estate broker with Sutton Realty & Auction Co. Their home is near the mobile home where Lee Manus was living with his father and stepmother one year ago.
But there were times when Lee would just show up at the Burtons' and they'd let him stay for dinner. A friendship grew between the boy and the couple. But, last summer, there came a time when Lee stopped visiting, and Tammie became distraught.
Then, one day in early August, Lee was dropped off at the Burtons' home.
Ricky Burton recalls the scene as one with a car door slamming and the vehicle driving off, leaving a boy with a plastic trash bag containing all of his clothes except the ones he was wearing.
"He's been a blessing to us and he's made it right with Mr. Williams and he wants to make it right with everybody else," Ricky Burton said during a two-hour interview in his home with his wife and the boy.
Tammie Burton has power of attorney for care of Lee Manus. She's shared a copy of the document signed by Freddy Manus and witnessed by an official at the Rutherford County Jail. The document gives Tammie Burton "the rights, duties and responsibilities that would otherwise be assigned to the parent...."
Tammie dotes on Lee Manus and patiently explains the difference between a literal expression of what someone is saying as opposed to the symbolic meaning of a statement, such as what Lee heard from Williams the day the boy told the vice principal what really happened.
"It didn't feel good to me that Mr. Keith had to pay all that money and that was on my heart," Lee said.
Asked what money Williams had to pay, the boy stopped, said he'd asked for and received forgiveness, but he couldn't explain what Williams had paid.
Tammie interjected; "It was not money. The price he had to pay was for what it cost him and his reputation and it hurt him and his family in the community."
She said Lee has tried to go to everybody who'd been told the falsehood about the alleged child abuse, "and he's tried to make it right."
Lee talks about his classes; liking mathematics for some unknown reason other than perhaps his teacher "is real good to me"; wanting to excel in physical education so a coach will select him for a team next year; and writing "a bunch of stories" in English class.
And there's a classmate who's been a beauty contest winner and Lee likes the girl, who's been sponsored by the Burtons in contests. They have her picture in the kitchen.
Agriculture is his seventh period class and he's got goats at the Burtons' home. Lee's also leaning about cattle.
Why Lee decided he wanted to live with the Burtons may seem obvious. The alternative, he says, was to stay in the projects in Murfreesboro with his father's girlfriend. His stepmother has been living in Smyrna and Kentucky.
Wednesday night's conversation with the Burtons and the boy followed Lee Manus' announcement early last week: "I want to put it in the paper that I was going down the wrong road."
The boy took responsibility for maintaining a story he says his father manufactured.
While he couldn't stop it for various reasons indicated during the long interview, the boy has said several times he wanted to relieve himself of the burden he felt on his heart.
The Manus family consulted with The Norton Law Firm. Requests for comment Thursday and this morning resulted in no contact with the attorney who was assigned to consider the prospect of litigation against the school system. There's been no indication that a complaint was filed in court.
Muskogee Phoenix, Oklahoma, 14 November 2006
Parents file complaint over swats
By Donna Hales
Muskogee police are investigating an alleged assault and battery complaint on a minor child by Whittier School Principal Ed Wallace. Chief Rex Eskridge said Monday the investigation is not complete.
"He (11-year-old) couldn't sit down because his bottom was so sore. The mom was just shocked," said the boy's attorney, Jim McClure.
Wallace told Superintendent Mike Garde he didn't swat the child maliciously or with great force. There were two school employees who witnessed the spanking, which is a requirement of the school, Garde said.
McClure said the boy was battered at school. "After the
first paddling, the boy begged him (Wallace) to stop. He
(Wallace) had him in a headlock, and he paddled him again,"
McClure said. "His whole bottom was black and blue. The
mother went to the principal, and he just kind of blew her off.
Garde said Monday he was not aware of the incident. He talked with employees involved and opted to be the spokesman. He said the parents had signed a release for the child in question to receive corporal punishment. He also said Wallace had contacted the parents and suggested an in-school suspension because the child tends to move when spanked.
Garde said the parents were to talk to the child over a weekend and that on Nov. 1 the parents told Wallace the child would take his swats. "He got two swats, and he moved on the second one, which may have caused it to hurt one cheek more than the other," Garde said.
"We're aware that the parents didn't think Mr. Wallace was remorseful enough. He was sorry the boy had red marks on his bottom — that wasn't his intent," Garde said.
The parents gave McClure a signed statement Wallace gave the mother of the alleged victim on Nov. 2. Wallace wrote that he met with the boy's mother on that morning and explained that he was careful while issuing the swats. Wallace also wrote that he changed his corporal punishment approval form to indicate that "we would no longer issue swats as a form of discipline (to the child in question) until further notified by the parent."
McClure said the mother took that letter with her when she took her son to the Emergency Room. Police have a picture showing the child's injuries. "If she hadn't had that letter, I think they (hospital) would have reported her for child abuse," McClure said.
McClure said he plans to put the school on notice of a formal complaint for compensation under the rules of a government tort claim. He said the parents waited in vain for the promised apology and further contact from the school, and that now it is too late. The parents' names have been withheld to protect the identity of the minor.
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Chiefland Citizen, Florida, 16 November 2006
Doyle McCall shares his story
By Jeff M. Hardison
The longevity of Chiefland High School football coaches varies, but there is a coach who served in that post for 25 years and he was in education here for 39 years.
This 78-year-old Chiefland man who retired from the Levy County School District in 1991 after 39 years here is relatively well known in town.
Coach C. Doyle McCall served as principal of the CHS for the last five years of his career, but he was best known as the head football coach for 25 years before that.
Most folks call him "Coach." This Levy County native has a way of speaking that goes directly to the point.
"I was born in Gulf Hammock," McCall said. "My momma said I was the first child born in Gulf Hammock, because before that it was known as 'Gun Town.'"
McCall is the son of Frank and Lillian McCall. He was born in 1928.
In the summer of 1952, he came to Chiefland. He was the coach. There were no assistants. They played six-man football that first year. Although they did well, the coach told the principal that either he would leave or they would have 11-man football.
The coach said he wanted more room other than the baseball field to play football. Mont Clyatt owned a big farm right next to the school. Coach McCall asked him if the team could play on his field.
McCall was head football coach fro 25 years. In 1977, he went to full-time administration at the school, where he was assistant principal/dean and then principal for the last five years of his career.
Things have changed a lot since then, he said. He didn't suspend many students. Coach McCall found the paddle was an effective deterrent to bad behavior.
"A lot of those boys would like a 10-day suspension, especially at hunting season," McCall said.
One problem with behavior issues in school today, McCall said, comes from parents not supporting teachers and administrators.
"If parents let their kids know they are in support of schools, we would not have the problems we do today. Kids are the same as they have ever been," McCall said. "They will go as far as they can get away with.
"The worst thing a parent can do is take the side of the kid against the school," he added. "I was there for 39 years. I never did see a student fly down the hall on angel wings."
McCall said he understands things are different now. Corporal punishment is not accepted as it was and parents don't seem to communicate with each other as much as they did when he was younger.
Texarkana Gazette, Texas, 19 November 2006
Student's lawsuit against school
In federal court: Girl was accused of viewing Internet pornography at school
By Lynn LaRowe Sandefur
DETROIT, Texas—The case involving a middle school student accused of accessing Internet pornography has been moved from district court in Red River County to Judge David Folsom's federal court in Texarkana because of a constitutional rights question.
The Detroit Independent School District was granted the request to move the lawsuit because the girl's attorney, Cameron Lenahan, alleges her Fourth Amendment due process rights guaranteed under the U.S. and Texas constitutions have been violated.
Lenahan and the girl's parents, Trent and Tonya Smith, say due process was denied because they were not allowed to question witnesses, were not given the use of a computer with Internet capabilities to present evidence and were unfairly restricted in the amount of time the DISD board allotted them to present their case, at a special called meeting held Oct. 9.
The meeting was called at the behest of Judge Jim Lovett of Red River County.
The school board voted to uphold the punishment: three days of in-school-suspension or three swats.
"They have put her in a position of being punished or quitting school," Lenahan said. "She is being denied a public school education."
The Smiths have elected to home school their daughter until she has had her day in court.
The alleged incident occurred during a computer class Aug. 28 when a substitute teacher gave students permission to play Internet games on either a Website written on the chalkboard or any other "appropriate" site, according to written statements.
The 11-year-old played a virtual paper doll game called "sexy dress-up" she said she thought was similar to a Lizzie McGuire game on her home computer.
The student said she immediately clicked out of the game when she realized the doll's clothing could be completely removed save for a few strategically placed bandages.
The following day the regular keyboarding instructor, Mary Hart, gave information to Principal Pat Travis, which he used as cause to punish the students for viewing pornography, Tonya Smith said.
Lenahan said misleading statements by Travis led parents of the boys to grant him permission to spank them three times each with a wooden paddle.
Tonya Smith, whose daughter is a gifted and talented student who has never been in trouble before at school, asked to see the game.
Tonya Smith said Travis, who did not actually view the doll before punishing the boys, agreed the material was not pornographic after she urged him see it for himself.
The Smiths and Lenahan contend the district is standing firm in their decision to discipline the girl because of the punishment already administered to the two boys.
Press-Register, Mobile, Alabama, 24 November 2006
The day they paddled the entire band
By Lawrence Specker
There's a legend about E.B. Coleman and Randy Davis that's hard to believe in this day and age, but Davis swears it's the stone truth: One time the two of them did indeed paddle the entire Murphy High School Band.
"We had a lot of students that were being initiated," said Davis, now a state legislator. This was in the early '80s, when he was band director and Coleman was his assistant.
These day, the word wouldn't be "initiated," it would be "hazed." One time Murphy faculty members found 25 freshmen stuffed into a Dumpster, Davis said. And not a clean, empty Dumpster, either.
Things came to a head when one student, in the process of being crammed into a trash can, suffered serious cuts that required stitches. A band parents' meeting was called, and afterward Davis and Coleman gathered the band together.
They wanted to know who was responsible for the most recent "initiation," but no one wanted to talk. "I told them I was going to count to three, and if nobody spoke up, I was going to paddle everyone in the room," Davis said.
He counted. No one squealed.
"I said 'E.B., you get your paddle and I'll find mine,'" Davis recalled.
"Everybody got in my line," he said, laughing at the recollection. So he began laying it on. People began jumping to Coleman's line, to no avail. Soon, Davis said, people were singing like canaries -- but the two bandleaders figured they had to go through with it.
"He was a master with the paddle," Davis said.
It's worth noting that when recounted to Joseph Mitchell and Janetta Whitt-Mitchell, who were Coleman's students in an earlier era at Central High School, this story produced a reaction approaching wide-eyed horror.
The environment at Central was completely different, they said. Corporal punishment was rare. Being singled out for verbal correction was rebuke enough, Whitt-Mitchell said, because the students respected Coleman's expectations of them.
"All of us just looked up to E.B.," she said.
Stan Chapman, a student at Murphy in the'71-'72 school year and now the Murphy band director, suggests that Coleman wasn't that much different a disciplinarian at Murphy, though he had adapted to a different environment.
Corporal punishment wasn't necessarily his preference, but he did his share, Chapman said. And if "a lot of kids received the end of the paddle," he said, Coleman always made clear that he hated the sin, not the sinner.
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