Knox County student says he was threatened with electric shock

Knox County student says he was threatened with electric shock for lying

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Katina Angola, a mother of three, says when she picked up her son, who's in first grade at Gibbs Elementary School, from school on Wednesday, he told her his teacher had threatened to shock him at school. Katina Angola, a mother of three, says when she picked up her son, who's in first grade at Gibbs Elementary School, from school on Wednesday, he told her his teacher had threatened to shock him at school.
"Threats for violence are always harmful," said Dr. Connie Steele. "The raised voice, even shouting, yelling at a child." "Threats for violence are always harmful," said Dr. Connie Steele. "The raised voice, even shouting, yelling at a child."

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knox County parent is furious after her child was told he would receive an electric shock if he did not tell the truth.

The school system has filed a formal complaint with the Department of Children's Services (DCS).

The incident happened Wednesday at Gibbs Elementary School.

Katina Angola, a mother of three, says when she picked up her son, who's in first grade at Gibbs Elementary School, from school on Wednesday, he told her his teacher had threatened to shock him at school.

"I was confused about what he meant by shocking, because I didn't think he meant the real shocking," said Angola, "So he explained he had to put his finder on this thing, this lie detector, and if I would lie it would shock me."

Angola quickly turned her car around and confronted her son's teacher.

"She said there was a situation where it was one boy's word against my son's word and that they did use this little shocker, it doesn't really shock anything, but the kids think it will if they lie," said Angola.

Melissa Ogden, Knox County Schools director of public affairs, released this statement about the incident Thursday:

"We are aware of the issue at Gibbs Elementary School, have contacted the parent, and are working with the school administration to address this."

After talking with the assistant principal, Angola was told that her son would no longer have to participate in this disciplinary method.

Ogden says this method is not an acceptable way to discipline children in the school system.

Dr. Connie Steele, the former department head of child and family studies at UT, was surprised to hear about these allegations.

"I've never heard of that method," said Dr. Steele.

She says this method is a form of child abuse and should not be used.

"Threats for violence are always harmful," said Dr. Steele. "The raised voice, even shouting, yelling at a child."

She says there are several other methods if you want a child to tell the truth.

"I don't want any teachers to get in trouble," said Angola. "I just want them to know that you know this kind of method is not OK. Telling a child they will be physically harmed if they don't get a certain outcome is not OK."

Angola says she asked the assistant principal if this was a school-wide practice, but she says he did not answer her question.

School officials say it is common normal practice for them to file a complaint with DCS in these situations.    

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