Police in Florence are investigating after two substitute teachers allegedly forced sixth grade students to crawl on a track as punishment. The school district has also said the substitute teachers will not be allowed on campus as the investigation unfolds.
According to Florence Police Chief Adam Marsh, parents claim that the Florence Middle School substitute teachers forced the class to crawl on an asphalt track during physical education class Thursday.
As of now, the police department has received two criminal complaints from students' families. No charges have been filed. Marsh said the police department hopes to talk to the class to get more information. He said CPS is also working on this case.
Florence Independent School District told KVUE Dec. 7 that the substitute teachers will not be allowed on any campus "in an employment capacity during our investigation and while any criminal investigation is still pending." Here's the full statement:
Florence ISD has been made aware of allegations that an incident occurred in a class at the Middle School last week, where several students’ hands were injured. We are extremely concerned, and we are conducting a thorough investigation into what happened and how it happened, so that we can determine the very best way to respond. We have made the decision that the substitute teachers will not be allowed on the campus or on any campus in an employment capacity during our investigation and while any criminal investigation is still pending. We want our parents and community to be assured that our staff works hard every day to protect our students and the educational environment. Our students’ safety and well-being is our top priority.
Two parents who spoke with KVUE's Rebeca Trejo said they at least want more communication from the school district. They said no note was sent home and no phone calls were made to parents.
They would also like to see some disciplinary action on the substitute teachers.
Cindy Jowers said her son came home from school on Thursday with blisters on his hands. She said he told her the class had to do bear crawls on the track for 100 yards as punishment because two other students were cursing at the teachers the day before.
She said a nurse put a band-aid on the injury.
Jowers said this class hasn't been an issue before. And she said she's not against bear crawls, but this was possibly too long on the wrong surface.
"I'm upset because had this happened on my watch and I had sent him to school with blisters on his hands, CPS would be called on me," she said. "So why is the same values and principals not our teachers that are supposed to keep our kids safe?"
Another parent who wants to remain anonymous because she fears retaliation said her son is a good kid and that she doesn't understand why this would happen.
"He doesn't misbehave," she said. "And if he does, he takes his punishment like a champ. I mean but this was uncalled for. Unnecessary."
Marsh said they hope to wrap up the investigation within the next few days.