Counsel retained in Central Elementary discipline case

The mother of an 8-year-old child at Central Elementary School has obtained an attorney after she says discipline for her child went too far.

Carla Anderson, the boy’s mother, says the incident occurred on Nov. 10, when his behavior became disruptive and he was sent to the office.

“I went to an IEP meeting at the school about 11 and I didn’t realize that (my son) had gotten in trouble until I pulled up in the driveway with the kids,” she said. “They didn’t call me before they paddled him, so I didn’t know anything about it until about 4 o’clock when the principal called me,”

She says the principal paddled her son for his behavior, adding she signed the form consenting to corporal punishment.

Her son is blind and she says he sometimes becomes frustrated, but she didn’t think it would go this far.

“I didn’t think they were going to take it as far as leaving bruises on my son,” she said. “If I left these bruises on my son, I’d be in trouble with CPS (child protective services).”

When she put him in the bathtub that evening, she says she found what appeared to be a fingerprint bruise on his shoulder and black and blue paddle marks on his buttocks and the back of his legs.

She called the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office, and she says the dispatcher referred her to the Webster Parish School Board. She called the school board and told them what happened, and an internal investigation was conducted.

When she was contacted following the internal investigation, she says they claimed her son told them his father paddled him. His father was out of town at the time of the incident, Anderson says.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dan Rawls confirmed an internal investigation was conducted to make sure all the proper paperwork had been completed; however, he could not offer any additional comment as the case has been turned over to the board’s attorney Jon Guice.

“Until they finish with it, we can’t say anything,” he said. “We did an internal investigation to make sure all the policies and procedures and rules and regulations were followed. We took statements and turned it all over to the attorney.”

Anderson says she felt she had no other recourse than to contact an attorney in the matter, because she felt she wasn’t getting anywhere with the school board or police. She even called CPS to no avail, she said.

The case is now in the hands of her attorney, Patricia Gilley.

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