Concerned parents protest Morgan County principal paddling case

Concerned parents protest Morgan County principal paddling case

Posted:
Families protested in front of the school board's central office Monday. Families protested in front of the school board's central office Monday.
Dr. Penny Boyd (source: Morgan County Schools) Dr. Penny Boyd (source: Morgan County Schools)

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

WARTBURG (WATE) - A group of concerned Morgan County parents on Monday protested a recent school paddling case. They're upset that the principal involved wasn't fired. Instead she was moved to another school in the county.

Sandra Hall, the mother of five-year-old Lukas Williams, says Sunbright School Principal Dr. Penny Boyd paddled her son so hard it left bruises all over his buttocks.

Although Boyd was removed as Sunbright principal, she'll be on the job at Central Middle School Tuesday as the new assistant principal.

Families protested in front of the school board's central office Monday.

"We want her gone. She doesn't need to be here. We don't want her here," said Lukas' sister, Rebecca Hall. "In the same county, just 20 miles away. I don't understand what that was supposed to do for us."

Hall says what happened to Lukas should never happen to anyone. "It's hard to imagine how someone could put that much force into hitting a five year old," she said.

The school system agrees that what Boyd did was out of line. "We did make a determination that the paddling was excessive and unreasonable, according to board policy," said Director of Morgan County Schools Dr. Edd Diden.

Morgan County's policy says corporal punishment can only be used as a last resort, must have another employee as a witness, and must be "reasonable."

The "reasonable" requirement is where the school board says Boyd fell short, but they think it was a one-time, albeit enormous, error that does not warrant her dismissal.

"She made a mistake, but I don't think it warrants losing her job or destroying her career," Dr. Diden said.

Parents are concerned that another, similar incident could happen at Central Middle, but Dr. Diden says that won't happen. In Boyd's new position, her discretion to paddle or not has been taken away from her. "She will not be allowed to use corporal punishment," he said.

Although she's still employed by the school system, Dr. Diden says Boyd certainly isn't going unpunished. "She will be getting a three-week suspension without pay, which she can appeal. There are serious consequences for what happened," he said.

However, for Hall and the rest of the concerned parents, that's just not enough. "We just want her gone. We would love to see her in handcuffs at this point, and we want her out of our schools," Hall said.

Dr. Diden will recommend the three-week unpaid suspension for Boyd to the school board next week.

Parents of Morgan County students must sign a consent form, or give consent verbally, before the schools can paddle their children.

The Morgan County Sheriff's Office says it's still investigating and possible criminal charges against Boyd could be filed.

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