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Oklahoma District Rejects $1-Million Claim

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A $1-million claim filed in Okarche, Okla., by a lawyer representing a 10-year-old student whose teacher strapped her to a chair and taped her mouth, was rejected last week by the local school board.

James Levine, the girl's lawyer, said he was not suprised by the board's rejection and intends to file a lawsuit against the Okarche Public Schools. About 300 people attended the board meeting to show support for the teacher, who admits strapping the child to the chair and taping her mouth to keep her from disrupting the class.

Corporal Punishment Allowed

The Okarche schools' policy on corporal punishment permits a teacher to punish a child as a parent would, but Mr. Levine claims that the teacher's treatment of the child, who is in a special-education class, went beyond the acceptable spanking or paddling.

Richard T. Buswell, superintendent of Okarche Public Schools, said he would neither encourage nor discourage such disciplinary action by a teacher.

He said the instructor is an excellent teacher and the methods she used were intended to get the child to do her work and did not have a bad effect on her.

"I have yet to find an educator familiar with this case who feels that this teacher did something wrong," Mr. Buswell said.

Mr. Levine said that his investigator had turned up evidence from discussions with parents in the community that indicates other children have received similar treatment, but he could only cite one other case in which a child was allegedly sat on by a teacher.--br

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