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School Principal Allegedly Spanked Students With 'Unreasonable Force'.

An Oklahoma principal faces felony charges after he allegedly used unreasonable force while spanking two elementary school students as a form of punishment, leaving both with bruises.

Gary Gunckel, 50, the principal of Indianola Public Schools, was charged with two counts of child abuse by injury after he flogged two students from his educational facility - aged 10 and 11 - with a paddle on their buttocks on Sept. 6, for entering into an argument with each other, ( USA Today reported. 

The mother of one of the victims, who had given Gunckel permission to spank her son as a form of corporal punishment, told Pittsburg County Sheriff's Deputy Cody Vaughn that she discovered bruises on the student's buttocks, which had resulted from excessive paddling. According to Pittsburg County court records, the parent of the second student also reported bruises on her son's backside.

After a complaint was filed against him, Gunckel reportedly apologized to the mother who spoke to the sheriff, saying his spanking was "supposed to hurt so that he [her son] would remember not to do what he was doing anymore." Furthermore, he admitted he had used the same amount of force while punishing them that he used during punishing high school boys, adding that he did not know her son bruises that easily,( New York Post . 

Indianola Superintendent Adam Newman said in a statement Gunckel was placed on administrative leave following the charges against him, adding that the principal "followed district policy."

According to ( the National Center for Biotechnology Information  (NCBI), "School corporal punishment is currently legal in 19 states, and over 160,000 children in these states are subject to corporal punishment in schools each year." This was following a 1977 ruling by the Supreme Court that deemed school corporal punishment constitutional, leaving it up to the states to decide whether to allow it.

The states where such punishments are legal, from preschool to until the end of school, include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.

Among the 19 states, the 2016 NCBI report found that Oklahoma was one of the states which report the most widespread use of corporal punishment. However, even then, it was found that only six percent of the districts in the states used that form of punishment on more than 25 percent of its students.

Although corporal punishment is legal in many states, it has not been without its share of controversies. There have been a number of cases in the past - some even leading to lawsuits - of children requiring medical attention after suffering serious injuries, including bruises, hematomas, nerve and muscle damage, cuts, and broken bones, following corporal punishment.

According to a( 2003 report by The Society for Adolescent Medicine, between 10,000 and 20,000 students required medical attention as a result of school corporal punishment each year.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Oct 3, 2018
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