Sunset Elementary School, 263 Church Hill Street, Sunset, Louisiana caters for boys and girls from Kindergarten to 8th grade. Three 8th grade girls, Emily Eadie, Madeline Odom and Taylor Castille, all thirteen years old, were all paddled by school principal Marquet Rideau at the end of October 2011.
It all started when Taylor Castille excused herself in class to use the rest room before the bell rang. She found the closest rest room closed so walked across school to use the fifth grade rest room and met with her friends, Emily Eadie and Madeline Odom.
They admit they were walking back to class after the tardy bell had sounded and knew they were in trouble when the principal, Ms Marquet Rideau caught them crossing the quad. The girls thought they would get a tardy mark on their school ID cards or morning detention.
However, another teacher handed Principal Rideau the school paddle before walking off.
The girls were then lined up, told to bend over and each given one swat. The paddling took place in the quad which can be viewed from some of the classrooms. Other students also milled round during the paddling, the girls said.
“She lined us up and paddled us and told us to go back to class,” said Emily.
The girls were marked by the paddling, at least one saying it hurt to sit down hours after the incident and after they had finished Trick or Treating later that day.
After they got home and told their mothers, all three mothers claimed to be outraged because they had signed forms at the beginning of the school year asking the school not to use corporal punishment on their daughters. Complaints have been filed to the St Landry Parish School Board and Sunset Police Department.
A look through the school handbook failed to show any official form for parents to opt for their children not to receive corporal punishment.
The handbook does state that St Landry Parish School Board does recognise the full responsibilities of its teachers and does hereby (our italics) authorise the use of corporal punishment reasonably administered. The Board recommends that whenever possible corporal punishment be administered by the principal or his/her designee.
None of the parents saw fit to explain if the request not to use corporal punishment on their children was an official document, properly completed, why did their daughters not tell Ms Rideau that they were excused corporal punishment before they were paddled. Could it be their daughters knew there was no get-out? Could it be they preferred to take the swat rather than detention?
Candace Guidry (Emily’s)
Tiffany Savoy (Madeline’s)
Cynthia Castille (Taylor’s)
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