Parents gave permission, school spanking left bruises

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CORDELL, Okla. — Cordell Police said they are looking into a school punishment that left a mark.

The mother of an Oklahoma elementary student said her son was left bruised in a recent paddling last week.

Linda Drew said her 6th grade son was caught fighting at Cordell Elementary.

She and her husband were given the option of suspension or swats.

They gave the school permission to spank their child because they thought suspension or detention would have hurt his grades and football practice.

Hours later, their son was being checked out in the emergency room with severe bruising.

From her home Monday afternoon, Drew read a police report with her son’s account of being spanked by an administrator at Cordell Elementary last Thursday.

“He told me to grab a chair and said if I moved, he would have to do it again,” Drew’s son wrote. “While I was crying, he said ‘You’re lucky I took it easy on you because I like you.’ The pain was so bad that it took my breath away.”

“It’s just awful,” Drew said. “He shouldn’t have been hit so hard.”

Drew said her son was hit with a paddle and the bruising was so bad, he was taken to a hospital where a nurse called it “abuse.”

“She saw it and said that was excessive force,” Drew recalled. “That that’s abuse, so we needed to file a report.”

Drew filed a police report and now hopes criminal charges will follow.

“Spanking is one thing but to leave bruises on a child is another thing,” she said.

She said those bruises lasted three days.

Cordell School Superintendent Brad Overton told News Channel 4 this was the first time he had heard of the incident and said the school will look into it.

Linda said she hadn’t contacted the school yet because everything happened so quickly.

At the Sunshine Cafe in downtown Cordell, Donna Jones questioned whether students should be spanked at school.

“Not if every child came home with bruises, I would think there’s something wrong,” she said. “I don’t think that’s normal.”

“I think that’s over excessive if he had bruises for that many days,” Kaye Bailey said.

“That went beyond spanking,” Millie Steadham said. “When you mar your child up like that, especially if they have to go to the hospital, that’s child abuse.”

Tim Merrill, however, said the parents made the choice.

“I agree with what the school did. If the parents had the option to choose and chose spanking, then they have to live with the results of that,” he said. “If they chose suspension, they would have to live with that.”

The district attorney said although it’s not against the law to spank students in Oklahoma, every case is different and he will wait for the police report.

Cordell police said they are conducting a thorough and complete investigation.

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