Paddling incident being reviewed

Chattanooga Times-Free Press

DAYTON, Tenn. -- The principal of Dayton City School is under investigation by the Rhea County Sheriff's Department for an incident in which a child was paddled for disruptive behavior.

Robin King of Dayton filed a complaint with the Dayton City Police on Aug. 27, following the incident during which principal Mike Latham reportedly spanked 10-year-old James King, a fifth-grader, for being disruptive in class.

Neither Mrs. King nor school officials were available for comment Tuesday. But according to Sheriff Leon Sneed of the Rhea County Sheriff's Department, the matter is under investigation by Chief Deputy Charles Byrd who investigates crimes against children in the county.

"Dayton City Manager Frank Welch has asked that we look into the matter," Sheriff Sneed said. Bob Vincent, a member of the Dayton City Council which also serves as the DCS Board, said the board met last week to discuss the incident.

"We don't know yet if the mother is going to press charges. We have asked that the city conduct a full-blown investigation of the incident, which has now been turned over to the Sheriff's Department," Mr. Vincent said.

According to the incident report, Mrs. King claims her child came home from school with bruises on his buttocks after Mr. Latham spanked him three times with a paddle. Mrs. King took her son to the pediatrician and then filed a report with the Dayton Police Department Monday.

Mrs. King stated on her report that she had given the school permission to paddle her son, but that the paddling was, in her terms, "excessive." School and Sheriff's Department officials said they hope to have the investigation completed by the end of this week.