Allegations of Abuse Plague Marengo County School Board
By Mandi Williams, Blackbelt Gazette, June 17, 2008

At the June 12 meeting of the Marengo County School Board, a parent came forth with allegations that a teacher mistreated her child with harsh, perhaps abusive, punishment at A.L. Johnson.

Sallie McGee, parent of the A.L. Johnson 4th grader, stated that her child came home with a swollen face after a day at school. She asked her child what happened and the child wouldn’t tell. When asked, the teacher stated the child had run into the filing cabinet earlier in the day.

According to McGee, the motive behind the punishment was a failing grade the child received on a math test. McGee’s daughter had apparently scored a 55 on the test and received a spanking while being told she would do better on the next test.

McGee said she subsequently took her child to the hospital for x-rays where McGee was told her daughter had serious contusions. “Spanking is one thing, but abuse is another,” McGee said.

McGee later discovered that the teacher supposedly hit the child with a strap, while the child was seated. The students in the class served as witnesses to the punishment. The principal stated to McGee that he wasn’t at school that day.

McGee didn’t understand why the punishment was necessary in the first place. According to McGee, her daughter’s teacher had never hesitated to contact her about discipline problems in the past. When a problem arose, McGee took prompt care of it, she said.

The teacher in question has been an educator for over 30 years. According to A.L. Johnson principal, a letter of reprimand was placed in the teacher’s file after the incident.

Marengo County Board of Education Superintendent Luke Hallmark was asked by McGee to further investigate the incident. “I want to know how harsh the punishment will get before something is done about incidents like this,” McGee said.

“I will make sure the system’s faculty and staff are aware of the disciplinary policies and procedures,” Hallmark said.


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