Oklahoma principal charged with child abuse over paddlings

MCALESTER, Okla. – Child abuse charges have been filed against a southeastern Oklahoma school principal in connection with the paddling of two students.

Pittsburg County court records indicate 50-year-old Gary Gunckel was charged with two counts of child abuse by injury on Friday. A preliminary hearing conference is scheduled Oct. 12.

The McAlester News-Capital reports that Gunckel, principal at Indianola Public Schools, is accused of “using unreasonable force” when he used a wooden paddle to spank two elementary school students, ages 10 and 11, on Sept. 6.

A statement by Indianola Superintendent Adam Newman says Gunckel has been placed on administrative leave. Gunckel didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment and court records don’t list an attorney who could speak on his behalf.