Mother sues principal who whipped child


April 22, 2003
Emily Peters
The Town Talk

Alexandria, LA -- An elementary school principal is being sued for what a parent claims is a paddling that went too far.

Cindy Finister filed her suit in the 9th District Court claiming that Walter D. Hadnot Elementary Principal Charles Moore severely bruised her daughter's buttocks when he paddled her at the school.

Alexandria Police arrested Moore April 11 after Finister filed a complaint with the department saying he severely bruised her daughter on the buttocks.

Finister's 7-year-old daughter was swatted three or four times after she was accused of biting a classmate's arm April 8.

The suit seeks compensation for medical and counseling costs to cover her daughter's injuries, including damage to her buttocks, "nervous system and psyche."

The lawsuit claims those injuries have led to "extreme nervousness" that has kept the 7-year-old from performing her regular activities such as schoolwork.

Moore was arrested at the police station after being interviewed by police. He was released on bail the same day.

He was not arrested at the school, contrary to previous reports.

Teachers who witnessed the corporal punishment said the paddling was with a regulation-sized paddle and was not inappropriately forceful.

Finister admits her daughter had been in trouble before and had received a variety of other punishments in the past.

Moore's employment status with the school district is unknown, but the Rapides Parish School Board must schedule a hearing before dismissing a tenured employee. No hearing has been scheduled.

Rosalie Jackson, Central Office administrator and former Hadnot principal, is currently in charge of the school.

Moore, a Lafayette resident, has been unavailable for comment.

The district has conflicting policies on the issue of corporal punishment.

The Rapides Parish School Board Student Code of Conduct allows for no more than six strokes of corporal punishment on the buttocks, and only after all other methods of punishment have been exhausted.

However, the online Policy Manual states that it is "impermissible" for school-district employees to strike a student for any disciplinary reason.