TPS Investigating Corporal Punishment Allegation

Wednesday, March 4th 2009, 9:38 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Officials at Tulsa Public Schools are investigating accusations of corporal punishment at an elementary school.

Sources tell The News on 6 a school employee at Hawthorne Elementary hit a young student with a yardstick Feb. 24.

Officials would not go into specific details for privacy reasons.

"The investigation is ongoing, but we think to be thorough and to be fair, we're going to talk to everybody who works there," said Keith Ballard, superintendent for Tulsa Public Schools.

School officials are still trying to determine whether the incident took place, but they suspended three employees with pay Monday until they figure out what happened.

"We have an investigation undergoing, and we're going to make what we believe is the best decision in the best interest of the kids when we get all of the facts in," Ballard said.

Corporal punishment is legal in about 20 states, but state educators say Oklahoma law prevents boards of education from physically punishing students.

TPS officials say their policy is clear.

"Our policy is that we do not permit corporate punishment in Tulsa Public Schools," Ballard said.

TPS won't say what prompted the incident.