Teacher's punishment gets him in trouble

January 15, 2008 10:37:07 AM PST
A New Caney ISD band teacher is on administrative leave after being accused of using an unorthodox method to punish a student who had forgotten his instrument. "My blood was boiling," said Michael Keene, whose son was punished. "I was mad. I was angry."

It was clear how Keene feels about the punishment his 11-year-old son was given for forgetting to bring his trumpet to band class at New Caney's sixth grade campus.

"My first response, my son was mistreated," he said. "My first response, I wanted to crack the man in two, I mean honestly."

The New Caney ISD did confirm that the band teacher did punish the student by having other students empty their spit valves into the boy's hand. It's news that didn't sit well with other New Caney parents.

"With the diseases going around nowadays, that's very unsanitary for one thing and there are ways to correct a child without going to that extreme," said parent Jimmie Mikel.

"That's just totally wrong," added parent Mary Sargent. "The teacher needs to be punished for that because the kid's got to live with the embarrassment for the rest of his life. That just ain't right."

Keene says he was made aware of the January 4 incident after his son went to his school counselor asking to be transferred out of band class. The school district has since put the teacher on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

"For the most part, they've fixed the problem," said Keene. "They've resolved with ensuring that student don't have to go through this again."

Keene's son is back at school, but no longer in band class. And while the father is pleased with the school district's responsiveness, it's still tough for him to stomach what his son went through at such a young age.

"It's disgusting, 21 kids blowing spit into your son's hand. Yeah, it's disgusting," said Keene. "I'm angry."

No one from the New Caney ISD would go on camera for an interview, but they did tell us by phone that an investigation is underway.

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