May 11, 2010 3:00 PM by Letitia Walker
From Attorney General's Office: On April 12, 2010, the Attorney General’s Office received a recusal file from the 26th Judicial District Attorney’s Office regarding an incident at Jennings Elementary involving the paddling of a third grade student at that school by the principal, Dr. Kieran Coleman. After conducting a very thorough investigation which included the reviewing of all police reports, conducting numerous interviews of law enforcement officials, school administrators, teachers and support staff, as well as medical personnel, and the student’s family members, we have determined that Dr. Kieran Coleman’s actions do not rise to the level of criminal conduct.
Our investigation revealed the following. On the date of the incident, the student was referred to the principal’s office for disciplinary action. Although the student’s parent had already given written permission to use corporeal punishment in the past, the principal had his staff call and get verbal permission again that day to verify their authority. The student’s parent admits that verbal permission was given to once again impose corporeal punishment. All protocol was followed by the principal, who in the presence of another teacher applied two strikes to the student’s buttocks. The witness to the spanking indicated that nothing extraordinary occurred during the incident and that the student returned back to class.
Later during the school day, the student was observed by faculty and administrators, as well as her mother who was attending a previously scheduled meeting at the school. No one, including the student and her parent, reported any sign of pain or suffering at that time. Later that day, the student’s mother observed bruising on the student’s buttocks and became concerned. The following day, the student was taken to be checked by medical professionals. An interview was conducted with those medical professionals, who indicated that it was their professional opinion that the bruises were superficial and were not extraordinary in any fashion. It was also revealed that one of the medications that the child had been taking could result in excessive bruising as a related side effect.
Therefore, based upon the totality of circumstances, and relying on the statements and observations of faculty, staff, and medical experts, we have determined that no provable criminal act has occurred.
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