Student struck 21 times with paddle

April 2, 2009 1:41:25 PM PDT
A high school football coach beat a student so severely with a "canoe paddle" that the wood board cracked and had to be taped so the "licking" could resume, a Dallas school district report said. The Lincoln High School student suffered severe bruising and welts to his lower back, upper thighs and buttocks and was referred to a doctor for treatment, according to the report obtained by The Dallas Morning News.

"The report, unfortunately, speaks for itself and is, to say the least, disturbing," Dallas schools spokesman Jon Dahlander said in Thursday's newspaper.

Paddling is legal in Texas but prohibited in Dallas public schools. No criminal charges have been filed and school district police suspended their investigation because of a lack of evidence in the 2007 case.

The student received up to 21 strikes from then head football coach Jerry Sands after being removed from the team. Sands decided the student would have to endure the paddling to return, according the report.

In an affidavit, Sands wrote that he wanted to help the student "make it in life."

"It was never my intent to hurt (the student). If anything, I was trying to help him," he wrote.

The beating was detailed in an affidavit by coach Tyson Garner, who witnessed the incident, sent the student to the nurse's office and reported it to a child abuse hot line. He and another coach informed principal Earl Jones in May 2007.

Jones said he gave Sands a verbal reprimand. After an anonymous letter told school staff of the paddling, Jones issued a written reprimand backdated to April 2007, according to the report. In a statement, Jones said he was unaware of the severity and never considered notifying authorities because the student agreed to the punishment and didn't consider it abuse.

Jones was given a 20-day suspension and will be reassigned to another campus. Sands has been on paid administrative leave since September and refused to comment to the newspaper.

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