SPRING LAKE: Parents question school's punishment for students - WNCN: News, Weather

Spring Lake principal under investigation after parents question punishment

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The principal at Manchester Elementary School in Spring Lake is accused of sending students not in uniform to walk outside in the heat. The principal at Manchester Elementary School in Spring Lake is accused of sending students not in uniform to walk outside in the heat.
SPRING LAKE, N.C. -

A Cumberland County school principal is under investigation by the school district's administration after parents say a punishment went too far.

Superintendent Dr. Frank Till acknowledged Monday that parents complained about a punishment by Manchester Elementary School Principal Tammy Holland.

The parents said Holland made students walk outside the school in Spring Lake for hours because they did not wear their uniforms to school on Tuesday -- the last day of school.

"They made us walk in the hot sun for 3 hours with one water bottle and one bathroom break," explained fifth grader Theophilus Owens. "They only let us go in the shade for a little bit."

Theophilus also said several students were sweaty and appeared to be overheated. He said one girl event fainted.

Parent Sharon Bradshaw said she saw more than a dozen students being sent outside to walk Tuesday morning when she went inside the school. She sent her son to school in his uniform despite the fact that he had heard from his teacher that it would be OK to go to school out of uniform.

She said the school has traditionally allowed students to ditch their uniforms on the last day of school. She said this was Holland's first year at the school and she feels Holland did not do a good job of communicating that uniforms were expected on Tuesday -- a day when school dismissed at 12:15 p.m.

"It was childish," Bradshaw said. "For a principal to do something like that makes me wonder if I'm event sending my kids back to school there."

Bradshaw and other parents said the children had to walk until a parent brought them a uniform to wear for the rest of the short school day.

Till said Betty Musselwhite, the associate superintendent for school support services, is looking into the concerns. He said students, parents and the principal have been or will be interviewed.

He said he also heard concerns that students were ordered out to walk before they had breakfast. That accusation is part of the investigation.

Till said aside from athletics, physical punishment is not allowed in the district's schools.

Till also said Holland was moved to Manchester Elementary because it was under-performing. He said she has a history of improving achievement in schools where she was previously principal.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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