Catholic school employee accused of spanking kids with belt

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beltSEATTLE — An employee of a Seattle Catholic school is under police investigation after he allegedly took off his belt and hit two unruly children last week.

The alleged incident happened last Wednesday at St. Therese Catholic Academy on Capitol Hill. The 52-year-old, seven-year school employee was supervising the before-school care program when the kids say he spanked them. He was filling in for a teacher who called in sick, officials said.

“I’m really angry right now just hearing about that,” parent Edward Mayer said.

Mayer doesn’t have children at St. Therese but he is a parent and was  visibly upset about any child being physically disciplined at school.

“I send my child to school to learn, not to be beaten or disciplined at all,” he said. “If there is a discipline problem with my child, you call me or you call her mother. We’re the parents.  I don’t like that at all and I don’t think it was right.”

The man, whose name hasn’t been released because he has not been charged, is a longtime utility staff member at St. Therese.

Police said that last Wednesday, the man was supervising the before-school care program when two boys, ages 10 and 11, “were throwing pencils and rough-housing.  He tried to get them to stop; they wouldn’t at that point. It’s alleged that he removed his belt and struck the two boys on the behinds,” SPD spokesman Jeff Kappel said.

“If it’s not OK’d by the parents, I don’t think it’s OK, not at school.,” said parent Kristi Guo. “I wouldn’t put my child in that kind of school, probably not.”

The boys who were hit reported the incident to school officials who, according to policy, placed the man on administrative leave and called police.

“That’s unacceptable. I don’t think that that is a place for a teacher to make that judgment call on whether they’re going to whip a child or not,” parent Kimberly Morgan said.

The staff member will remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of the police investigation.

Officials with the archdiocese says the man passed a pre-employment criminal background check.



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  • Ron

    I went to a Catholic school and got the paddle by sister Mary every once in a while, then in public schools also my parent spanked me with a belt also they didn't beat us they did it when we where bad, I don't think that its wrong I think more kids need the paddle that's why there are so many bad kids these days.

    • Cindy

      Ron, I agree. i was raised by a mother who was raised in a catholic boarding school and I also went to school in Chile from ages 11-13. the teacher there will pull hair, pull ears etc to get their point across. It worked with those kids…also myself. Kids need to learn to respect their elders. Each year these kids get more reckless and disrespectful.

  • sv1g

    I agree that sometimes a spanking is appropriate, and my boy gets one from time to time. However, if he came home from school and told me some janitor/bus driver/playground supervisor hit him with a belt, the guy would be in need of a feeding tube. I might be ok with a spanking from a principal or actual teacher if they had my permission but this is totally unacceptable.

  • Ernie

    It's due to idiots that refuse to take the time and responsibility to discipline their little animals that we read violent death every day in the news. When a child suffers no pain and gets what they want all their childhood, how can you expect them to change when they hit 18?

  • Mary Crosbie

    I see nothing wrong with disciplining children when they won’t behave. Discipline is used not to punish but to teach and correct bad behavior. What are these kids going to think now that this adult is in trouble and everyone is siding with the kids. Remember, they were engaged in conduct that could have caused someone to get seriously injured. Now they’re going to think that’s perfectly acceptable behavior. That’s exactly why we have kids stabbing other kids, killing their own parents and families when they’re told no they can’t do something, or shooting up classrooms. We are not teaching children to have proper behavior or that there are consequences for their actions. We’re teaching them that they can be rude, disrespectful, and do anything they want with no regard for anyone else. A proper spanking with a belt never hurt anyone (maybe their pride, but isn’t that part of the lesson).

  • M_Duncan

    Is it possible to not engage people in a story when they have nothing at all to do with it. Talking to the parent that has no children at the school seems to me only just a sensationalist tactic.

    Now, my question, what type of punishment will the children receive for being unruly and disruptive? If spankings are not allowed, then what discipline do these children need? I remember teachers who kept a paddle just above the door of the classroom as a stern warning that bad behavior receives real discipline. If, at this point in our society, we abandon the disciplining of our children, we will raise a generation of the self-indulgent. Perhaps it doesn't require a spanking – but it was surely a strong deterrent when I was a kid.

  • Ryan

    Hey kids these days have no respect for anyone. Spank them! Thats how my parents generation did it and they turned out alright.

  • Genine

    "A parent can spank for discipline but not as punishment." Why would we allow another person to physically touch our child? If someone dented your car you would sue them, yet a person inflicting pain on your child should be acceptable..? Ridiculous!! A spanking, from a parent, out of love to make your child a good person is one thing but if your not the parent HANDS OFF!!

  • Chris

    Your kid wasn't at school to learn! Your perfect little angel is a distraction to other students and both of these kids. There is not enough good ol fashion whooping of our children going on. You want to have time outs at your home fine, but just know in the real world the rest of us have NO patience for spoiled little brats who ignore authority.

  • Barb

    Sheesh when I went to Catholic school the nuns spanked us with paddles in our underwear in front of the class. If you got sent to the office, you got spanked naked with the strap. Then you'd get it bare again at home, but 10X longer. But guess what? We behaved and we learned. That's more than I can say for the brats we have today.

  • Ed

    The school experiences I relate to are that of Barb. It was back when that was how is was done. We didn’t and couldn’t question it. And that was how it worked so well. Parents backed up the teachers which meant we didn’t get away with foolishness today’s spoiled children do. We did not go running off to tell that we were being corrected because the culture of the time, there was no place to tell. If it wasn’t abuse in the first place then there was nothing to tell to begin with. Boiling down to definition of what spanking is and whats agreed acceptable. The past cannot be judged and weighed by today’s politically correct devoid of values world. Parents of the time dealt with us the way we needed and teachers were an extension of that, not babysitters.

    We were school. Harshly by today’s standards , normal for the times. Today everything is called spanking and that’s how it is becoming outlawed. Sadly the anti’s changed the definition so that even saying no is “spanking” and “abuse” and they are very proud of this. I do agree though that defining it is difficult. But I can give testimony about what I feel worked and didn’t work and what felt justly and what felt abusive.

    In school we were cracked on the knuckles with the edge of the ruler I feel is abuse. As Barb pointed out the strap. Strapping our hands in school I feel was abusive. That caused anger and frustration. But I’m not a fan of hitting with objects anyway. The spankings. Spankings in school where I went at that time, were in front of the entire class, and also done in private. I want to remain factual and not graphic. Being spanked was humiliating, shameful, but cleansing. Cleared my head of fog. I and a few others experienced both being smacked by a hand on the seat of the pants as well as with our pants and underwear pulled all the way down. It was done laying over the teachers lap, held there. We had to submit to this, there was no choice and that in fact is how it works and is supposed to work. By the punishment stage you don’t have choice and you have to accept it. Like jail. Like real life. So as I was saying we were spanked in school, this was not just a few swats that I hear so many people today so often say they call spankings. What I witnessed and received was a lengthy session that most definitely left the bottom a very solid shade. Would this fall under the heading ” leaving marks?” A well reddened bottom with no bruises aren’t marks that we see in the news from school paddling. Not so bad when pants were up. But very difficult to talk about experiencing that in front of so many other classmates of both sexes the other way.

    The strap in this school was also used on my bare bottom. I do not agree with that. In general spanking worked because the it was hard to sit and that discomfort lasted the rest of that day, night, into the next morning trying to sit for breakfast and maybe even that next day in school again. Point being it reminded us for days and days after to behave. I was never and Ill repeat this for the anti- crowd. I was NEVER beaten to a bloody open sores and bruises on my backside. I was spanked soundly. That to me is the definition of spanking. I didn’t feel the need for the belt of strap taken to me in school. But those were the times. Now looking back those hand spanking probably saved my life in the long run. I never told my parents because what was waiting at home was not spanking it was beating and I’m glad the teacher didn’t tell them. I felt she had too much power though to deal with things how ever she wished. But honestly she saved me from worse from a colder home environment and I bonded with a teacher in a parental fashion. She was more motherly that my own mother. I cant help wonder how many more kids could be saved if an adult could step in where parental figures are lacking with being strict. It worked for many back then. I don’t feel removing it has helped society at all.

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