Arkansas family frustrated after they say a teacher’s discipline crossed the line

Local News
January 01 2022 12:00 am

MARSHALL, Ark.–  A family is frustrated after they say a teacher’s discipline crossed the line.

Arkansas is one of 19 states where corporal punishment is still legal in schools.

However, one mother says after her daughter’s paddling broke skin, it’s time for the law to change.

“I was just speechless. I couldn’t believe that it happened,” said Mollie Chisum, the student’s mother. “I cried because I don’t hit my kid and just for her to have those marks, it hurt me.”

Her 15-year-old, Hallie Chisum, took a photo of her backside in April after she says her teacher paddled her so hard, she cried.

“It was the worst I have ever experienced,” said Hallie Chisum.

The mother and daughter say it’s because she was late to class four times and chose paddling instead of in-school suspension.

“There were blood spots that came to the top of the skin and bruising for several days after,” said Chisum.

Investigators say this is not the first time a parent has reported the same teacher for doing the same thing.

In 2018, records show the Searcy County Sheriff’s Office called the Child Abuse Hotline after it found the teacher paddled a high school boy leaving similar marks.

The superintendent declined an on camera interview and instead sent the following statement:

The Searcy County School District is aware of the situation and has actively been working with all agencies involved to investigate the matter.  The district will continue to take all appropriate action to address this situation.  As always, the district will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect the safety of all students in the district.  Because it is a personnel matter, the district will have no further comment at this time.

Alan Yarbrough, Superintendent, Searcy County School District

Chisum says the investigation is a good start, but hopes no other student will be paddled like her daughter was.

“I don’t understand why it keeps happening. I don’t want it to happen to anyone else. It’s uncalled for,” said Chisum.

The prosecutor’s office says the pictures did not show severe enough injuries to warrant the teacher being charged.

As for the school district, the superintendent says the district occasionally re-examines removing corporal punishment and imagines this instance will be discussed at a future school board meeting.

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