The principal at a North Carolina elementary school is in hot water after parents say she forced a bunch of students outside to trudge around a dirt track for over two hours without hydration because they failed to wear their uniforms on the last day of school.
The incident happened on Tuesday at Manchester Elementary School just outside Fayetteville, N.C., reports The Fayetteville Observer.
The principal is Tammy Holland.
Complaining parents say the trouble began when their kids showed up at school in regular garb instead of khakis and white polo shirts.
The principal’s response, peeved parents allege, was to order the offending kids outside to schlep around a dirt trail on the Manchester Elementary campus.
The temperature was in the high 70s when the slog started and in the high 80s when it finally ended over two hours later. The high humidity made the air seem hotter.
Later in the day, the temperature would climb into the mid 90s.
Parents say the kids had to continue walking until they showed up with their uniforms or just took them home.
Throughout the punishment, parents said, Holland didn’t allow the kids inside. She forbade teachers from giving them water.
Parent Laquitta Lockhart said her fifth-grade daughter wore a pink shirt, a vest and jeans on the last day of school.
At some point in the morning, Lockhart explained, she got a call from an administrator telling her to bring her daughter’s uniform to school. She did, she said, but she wasn’t in any hurry because she was unaware of her daughter’s plight.
“When I got out there, they had stopped under the tree because it was so hot,” the mad mom told the Observer. “It would break your heart.”
She found her daughter among about 10 other kids — exhausted and perspiring in the heat.
“I said, ‘Why are you so hot?’”
Her daughter explained that she had “been walking since 7:50.”
Lockhart immediately called the school district, and district officials finally intervened to put an end to the 2014 Manchester Elementary trail of tears.
Another parent told the paper that Manchester Elementary fifth graders had worn regular clothes on the last day of school last year. Holland, who is new to the school this year, had instituted a rule against such dress-code violations. However, the parent said, the school failed to communicate the new rule sufficiently.
School district officials are now investigating the allegations, according to district superintendent Frank Till Jr.
“If there’s an issue, then the issue needs to be dealt with,” Till told the Observer.
The superintendent also noted that forced physical activity is illegal under school district rules.
The last time Fayetteville-area schools made national news, former middle school principal David Ellis Edwards was arrested for allegedly touching three students inappropriately or forcing them to engage in sex acts. The students were all male and between 11 and 14 years old. A parent of one of the boys was sitting in a waiting area near Edwards’s office as one of the alleged incidents happened. (RELATED: This week in anal rape by American high school administrators)