Child abuse charges against Oklahoma principal dismissed without prejudice

INDIANOLA, Okla. – Child abuse charges that were filed against a school principal have been dismissed without prejudice.

Gary Gunckel, principal of Indianola Public Schools, turned himself into the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office in October after he was charged with two counts of child abuse.

According to court documents, a 10 and 11-year-old were being punished for arguing. Gunckel brought them into his office where he allegedly gave one two swats, and the other three. That student reportedly fell over after the first strike came down.

Parents told deputies the children “appeared to have trouble sitting or standing,” complaining about the pain. The parents say they found bruising and welts on both kids.

“Whether it’s child abuse or assault, anytime there’s visible marks or a sign of an assault, then, you know, parents were demanding that charges be filed,” Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris said. “They felt that their children were spanked too hard, and we’ve got a job to do, and we investigate it, and we forward everything to the district attorney.”

Gunckel called the parents to apologize, saying, “He was sorry [the student] bruised easily,” and that “they were supposed to hurt so that {the student] would remember not to do what [they] were doing anymore.”

Gunckel was placed on administrative leave.

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Now, officials say the charges against the principal were dismissed without prejudice on Friday.

School officials told KJRH that Gunckel was reinstated and started back at work on Monday.

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