Coach disciplined for paddling students - FOX 13 News

Coach disciplined for paddling students

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FROSTPROOF (FOX 13) -

A Polk County school coach has been reprimanded for paddling two students to celebrate their birthdays. It happened at Frostproof Middle High school back in late December.

After a four-month investigation, the Polk County School District just suspended Coach John Clemons for one week without pay.

"He should have gotten worse, because he ain't got no business touching them anyway," Ray Miles, a parent, told FOX 13 on Wednesday.

According to investigators, Clemons told the teens, a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, that they were going to be paddled. When they resisted, investigators say Clemons told them they would be paddled even harder as the year wore on, so both relented.

The girl's ordeal went further. After the birthday paddling, a fellow student hit her backside with a pot. Investigators say she went home with bruises, but they are not sure which incident caused them.

Clemons told investigators the paddlings were all in fun.

In a written report, he defends himself by saying, "I did not use a full swing. I did not use a half swing. It was a tap, " Clemons said. "I was sitting in my chair. I used no force at all."

According to school board policy, the amount of force used makes no difference.

"The bottom line for the school board's position is that type behavior is unacceptable. We have told our employees to keep their hands to themselves," said Manny Rodriguez, a Polk School investigator.

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