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Use of Strap on Students Is Upheld

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Waynesville, NC--The superintendent of the Haywood County, N.C., schools has ruled that an elementary-school principal's use of a leather strap to whip students for talking too loudly on a school bus was appropriate under state law and school-board policy.

Angry parents protested the Sept. 14 incident in which 14 1st- through 6th-grade Fines Creek Elementary School students were each whipped five times. The president of the pta has resigned over the incident.

School-board policy states that a principal can use corporal punishment after other means of discipline have been exhuasted, according to Superintendent Charles McConnell.

"He warned those children about three times," Mr. McConnell said of the principal, Tim McConnell, who is no relation to the superintendent. "It was much safer to restore discipline than to have a school bus go over one of those high mountains in Fines Creek."

He added that school officials, aware of complaints from parents that some students have been frightened by the punishment, will be alert to any signs that children remain nervous.--Raymond Lowery

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