An Oklahoma principal accused of using a wooden paddle to spank two elementary school students has been charged with child abuse and placed on administrative leave.
Gary Gunckel of McAlester was charged with two counts of child abuse by injury on Friday.
The 50-year-old principal at Indianola Public Schools is accused of "using unreasonable force" on Sept. 6 when he paddled two students, aged 10 and 11. According to an affidavit, both boys were bruised by the beating.
One of the boy’s mothers told police she gave Gunckel permission to give her son swats as a form of punishment for him misbehaving at school, according to McAlester News-Capital in McAlester, Oklahoma.
However, she saw bruising and whelps on her son's buttocks after he complained of pain. She determined that the bruising was excessive. The mother of the other boy also noticed bruising on her son’s buttocks, according to the report.
After one of the mothers contacted the principal to complain, "Gary told her he spanked the boys the same way he spanked high school students," according to the affidavit reported by the McAlester News-Capital.
He allegedly apologized later on "for busting the boys." He also allegedly apologized to the mother that her son bruises easily. That mother later relayed to police that the principal told her it was "supposed to hurt so that he would remember not to do what he was doing anymore," the affidavit stated.
After her conversation with Gunckel, the mother called police to file a report.
Indianola Superintendent Adam Newman says Gunckel has been placed on administrative leave "while the legal process determines the outcomes," according to a statement from Indianola Public Schools. It also states, “"Although federal law prohibits any school district from disclosing specific information related to an individual child’s discipline or their student records, Mr. Gunckel followed district policy.”
Court records don't list an attorney who can speak on Gunckel ’s behalf.
A preliminary hearing conference is scheduled Oct. 12.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
[Photo: Associated Press]