Police are investigating reports that two substitute teachers at Florence Middle School caused children to injure their hands Thursday by forcing them to crawl on an asphalt track during a physical education class, said Florence Police Chief Adam Marsh.
Charges have not been filed, he said.
Marsh said he has seen blistering and bruising on the hands of four children who were in a sixth-grade class. He declined to release the names of the two teachers being investigated.
Marsh said two sets of parents filed complaints with the police at 6 p.m. Thursday saying their children were forced to do bear crawls around the track. A bear crawl is done on the hands and feet without the knees touching the ground. The exercise is used for endurance and strength-building, Marsh said.
Police are continuing to investigate the case that involves many children, he said. They will submit their findings to the Williamson County district attorney’s office to see if charges should be filed, Marsh said. He said Child Protective Services also is involved in the investigation with a list of 16 children involved in the incident.
He declined to comment further on the case.
Lisa Block, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the state agency is working with the police to investigate the incident.
One of the parents who filed a complaint with police, Nancy Gonzalez, spoke through an interpreter during a phone interview Thursday.
Gonzalez said that when she picked up her 11-year-old daughter from school Thursday, her daughter had bruised hands. Gonzalez said her daughter told her that two substitute teachers forced her and her class to run and do bear crawls for half an hour around an asphalt track as punishment for what another student had done.
Gonzalez said she was “horrified” to see her child’s injuries and went to the school office to talk to someone, but that an official there wouldn’t talk to her.
Florence School District Superintendent Paul Michalewicz said Friday school officials are cooperating with policeand also are conducting their own investigation. He declined further comment.