Authorities investigating school discipline incident
By John Balch, Leader staff, Nashville Leader, November 8, 2006

MURFREESBORO The father of a 12-year-old boy paddled by a coach last week at Murfreesboro Schools has taken the matter to the police, and the case has been turned over to the deputy prosecuting attorney for consideration, according to Murfreesboro Police Chief Mark Barnes.

Barnes said the boy’s father is claiming that excessive force by assistant coach Davey Jones was used during the paddling, resulting in severe bruises on the boy’s buttocks. Barnes first became aware of the situation Thursday night when auxiliary patrolman Richard Wheeler was called to the boy’s home. Wheeler took pictures of the alleged injuries and advised the father to take the boy to the police department the following morning.

The chief said he has turned the case over to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jana Bradford of Glenwood, and he declined to comment further on the case because the investigation is still open.

Bradford did not return calls by The Nashville Leader to her Glenwood office Monday and Tuesday.

Superintendent Bernie Hellums said Monday afternoon that she has fielded numerous inquiries from members of the media about an alleged “beating of a student” on the campus.

“I assured them we hadn’t had a beating,” she said. “It was a disciplinary matter.”

The boy was allegedly involved in a fight on Thursday, Nov. 2 which resulted in the paddling by Jones. The paddling was witnessed by Coach Gene Simmons.

Hellums said the incident was brought to her attention last week and that the boy’s father showed her pictures of the boy’s bruises. She said she documented the incident and placed a report in Jones’ personnel file, as required by procedure.

“From our end of it, we have a corporal punishment policy, and that policy was followed by Coach Jones,” Hellums said.

“The court will have to determine if it was excessive,” she added. “At this point it’s pretty much between the dad and the coach.”

Hellums said the school’s corporal punishment policy is in the student handbook which is signed by parents who want their children disciplined on campus.

“If they sign the corporal punishment policy, then there is a possibility that that student may be paddled, and if that student is paddled, then there is the possibility that there may be a bruise.”

Hellums said that the school has contacted its lawyer about the matter.

“Right now, we’re satisfied that we have a policy in place, and that the policy was followed.”

PLEASE NOTE: The graphic materials shown below were not part of the above article.

Typical paddling-related injuries to schoolchildren

The image with the hand-written date "11-2-06" in the margin is of the boy involved in the incident described above.


“I assured them we hadn’t had a beating. . . It was a disciplinary matter.”

“Right now, we’re satisfied that we have a policy in place, and that the policy was followed.”

SEE RELATED: Letter to writer John Balch of the Nashville Leader about the Murfreesboro school paddling inciden, By Barbara Neff, November 22, 2006


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