Girl left with bruises after principal administers punishment

May 17, 2002

WKRN TV - Nashville

(Hickman County School District)
Reporter: Karen Brady

A parent shared some pictures with News 2 which she said shows serious bruises her daughter received after being disciplined at school.

Connie Buttrey pointed out marks on her daughter's leg. She's only 8 years old. "That's the bruises that hung around for awhile."

Connie said she received them as punishment from her elementary school principal at Centerville Intermediate.

"I called the principal the next day, and she admitted that she gave her two swats with some kind of strap. None of them think there's anything wrong with it, but I do."

"I talked with our SRO and Department of Children Services, and they sent a letter," said Jerry Burlison, School Superintendent.

Hickman County's superintendent of schools said the disciplinary action was investigated, and while he wouldn't talk specifically about the pictures, he did say the investigation showed no wrong-doing on the part of the principal.

Burlison also pointed out, Connie signed a form at the beginning of the school year giving permission to the school to use corporal punishment. "It's a last resort. I don't know any of our six principals that enjoy paddling a child."

In 1992, Hickman County schools abolished corporal punishment, but then two years later, it was brought back in grades K-8 at the parents' request. "We're a rural community. [It's part of] the old tradition."

"I'm not against spanking kids if they need a spanking, because I've done it myself, like a hand print, but it goes away," Connie said. "This is extreme. I hope nobody else's kids look like that after a paddling, and if they have, I don't know why they haven't said anything about it!"

The superintendent said as far as the district is concerned, this situation is over. As for Connie, she's talking with an attorney about the possibility of legal action.