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School CP - February 1990

Corpun file 4520


The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, 28 February 1990

Action on Spanking Called Inadequate

By John Perry

Disciplinary action taken against a Prairie Queen Elementary School teacher for paddling two students in January may not be enough to prevent future paddlings, parent volunteers and an employee at the school said.

The Oklahoma City school board banned corporal punishment in December and Prairie Queen principal Bill Shehorne said he has not allowed paddling at his school the last four years.

School officials said the teacher spanked two members of a class for emotionally disturbed children. She administered the paddling after she caught the students stripping leaves off an ornamental tree in the school office, officials said.

Two parents and the employee at Prairie Queen, 6609 S Blackwelder, identified the teacher as Nancy Fulton, the school's only teacher of emotionally disturbed children.

School spokesman Michael Carrier said the teacher was disciplined for paddling the students. The teacher has filed a grievance protesting the disciplinary action, he said.

Carrier said he could not reveal the action taken against the teacher or the contents of her grievance.

But the parents and school employee said Fulton has bragged that "nothing was done to her" for spanking the two students and that she will continue to spank children.

They also said they have seen Fulton handling children roughly on several occasions.

Fulton would not comment on the spanking incident, her grievance or allegations made against her. She referred all questions to her union representative.

Kathy Moody, a parent who works at the school as a part-time office assistant, said she has seen Fulton pick up students and shake them, twist their ears and drag them down the hall. Moody said she also has heard Fulton scream at her students "at the top of her lungs."

Moody said Fulton has said that the disciplinary action taken against Fulton consisted of a letter of reprimand placed in her personnel file.

"I don't know that I necessarily want her fired," Moody said.

"But something should be done something more than just a slap on the hand . . . A lot of people feel this way."

Another parent volunteer, who asked not to be identified, said Fulton has harassed the aide who reported the spanking incident and has bragged that she got off lightly.

"She's not acting like she's changed any. It didn't bother her any.

She's acting kind of proud of it," the parent said.

A school employee, who also asked not to be identified, said she also has seen Fulton treat students roughly. The incidents include throwing children against a wall with enough force that they drop books and papers they are carrying, grabbing children by the back of the neck, shaking children, and jerking them around by their arms.

The employee said Fulton tells other teachers about her students' family problems information that by law should be kept confidential.

The employee also said Fulton has vowed to spank children again, despite the ban, if she feels it is warranted.

"She feels justified because nothing is being done to her. She boastfully says it," the employee said.

Jack Nichols, Oklahoma City Federation of Teachers spokesman, said he could not discuss the details of Fulton's case. But Nichols said children placed in classes for the emotionally disturbed often are difficult to control and sometimes require stern disciplinary measures.

Nichols said a meeting between Fulton and district officials was held Monday and the parties may be near a resolution on the grievance.

A Tuesday grievance hearing before Prairie Queen principal Shehorne was postponed so that informal negotiations could continue, he said.

If the grievance is denied by the principal, it will go before a hearing officer appointed by the superintendent. The hearing officer's ruling then can be appealed to the school board.

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