A New Jersey principal has been placed on leave and could lose his job after allegedly administering a most unusual punishment for students: Making them walk around with backpacks.
“They made us walk the whole day, and I thought that was really unfair,” sixth-grader Jennifer Grullon told WABC News. Allegedly, Grullon and her classmates became too unruly in class and inspired teachers at William McGinnis Middle School in Perth Amboy to try a creative new punishment.
According to parents who complained, students were made to fill up their backpacks and then were marched around the school in formation for eight hours. During this time, they were allowed to stop for multiple water breaks as well as for lunch, but the incident is still under investigation by New Jersey’s Department of Children as a case of corporal punishment.
“My book bag was heavy. My shoulders were hurting. There were people that had to go home because of backaches,” said Grullon.
The investigation is serious enough that principal Myrna Garcia, vice principal Matthew Ferri, and five teachers have all been placed on administrative leave.
Student misbehavior has apparently been a recurring problem in Perth Amboy, whose school system has one of the worst graduation rates in the state. In 2012, school staff complained about students growing increasingly unruly and potentially dangerous due to the ineffectiveness of school disciplinary procedures.
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