San Diego School Disciplined Elementary Students Via Planking On Hot Surface, Corporal Punishment Complaint Dismissed

An elementary school that used planking to discipline misbehaving students has been absolved by the San Diego Unified School District. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a complaint against Horton Elementary School over an incident that happened last Oct. 14. But school district officials said that the school authorities didn't use corporal punishment.

During recess on the said date, a group of fourth and fifth graders caused a ruckus at the school cafeteria. According to the San Diego Tribune, it sprung from when a student stole a bathroom pass from one of the employees. The riot was pacified by the school's uniformed officers.

Days following the incident, the erring children were then ordered to do structured exercises during its regular free-play recess. This included push-ups and planking on hot asphalt or concrete.

According to KPBS, parents complained to Principal Staci Dent about the blisters they saw on their children, but the school defended that it was not corporal punishment. The activities were "to reinforce the importance of safety and following directions, as well as engage in exercise."

Further, the parents of some of the students involved were banned around the premises of Horton Elementary School for 14 days. The school also threatened the parents of arrest and have asked them to attend meetings that have been disruptive of the parents' work schedules.

Acting on behalf of the families of the students, the ACLU officially filed a complaint to the San Diego School District superintendent, KPBS cited in a separate report. The organization also said that the school district should have its staff undergo training in handling children.

Upon deliberation, the school district didn't find enough evidence against the school and it also did not believe that the officers should be sanctioned for how they disciplined the children. In its response to the ACLU complaint, the San Diego Unified School District was not able to confirm if there were students who indeed suffered blisters from the three-day physical activities.

"It could have been a result of playing on the monkey bars," Lynn A. Ryan of the school's uniformed officers wrote in her report. The ACLU has criticized the decision.

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