Morgan County administrator faces charge of child abuse

Morgan County administrator charged with child abuse for paddling incident

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Dr. Penny Boyd (source: Morgan County Sheriff's Office) Dr. Penny Boyd (source: Morgan County Sheriff's Office)
Concerned citizens protested Monday how school officials have handled the incident. Concerned citizens protested Monday how school officials have handled the incident.

WARTBURG (WATE) - A former Morgan County principal involved in a paddling incident surrendered to sheriff's deputies Monday night after a warrant was issued on child abuse charges.

Dr. Penny Boyd was removed as principal of Sunbright School after padding a child in late August.

After being booked by Morgan County officers, she was released on a $5,000 bond. Her first court appearance is scheduled for December 20. The child abuse charge is a Class A misdemeanor.

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

Before the child abuse charge, school officials said they believed it was a one time error in judgment and didn't warrant her firing.

"We felt victorious," said one parent, Erin Snee. "We're a step closer to a solution, we feel, but our battle isn't over. We want her out of our school system."

Boyd was transferred to Central Middle School as vice principal following the paddling.

However, "We've been re-evaluating her position and our decisions, consulting with attorneys in that regard. And so at this point in time, I've decided that I'm going to continue her suspension until we can look at it more closely," said Director of Schools Dr. Edd Diden.

Dr. Boyd is under contract with Morgan County Schools.

"I hadn't had any complaints about her and the use of corporal punishment," Diden said. "Corporal punishment has been used in our schools. It's used more in some than in others."

Now the corporal punishment policy is up for discussion. "That policy is up for revision. We've also discussed it with our district leadership team with our principals, just in terms of not only our policy, but intent, how it's applied, procedures that are followed in such cases. So yes, we will certainly be revisiting that policy," Diden explained.

The county's current school system policy says corporal punishment can only be used as a last resort, must have another employee as a witness and must be reasonable.

Diden sad if he thought there would be a safety issue with Boyd at the middle school, he wouldn't have assigned her there

He also said reviewing the corporal punishment policy will take at least a few months.

On Monday, parents stood on the side of a Wartburg road holding signs protesting the decision to transfer Boyd, rather than fire her.

6 News Reporter JESSA LEWIS contributed to this report.

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