Parents Outraged Over ‘Out of Line’ Punishment for Students

Upset parents are claiming “abuse” after a class of eighth-grade students were told to do bear crawls and seventh graders were instructed to run laps as punishment for their classmates’ misconduct during gym class. 

“That was abuse, it was definitely abuse,” Anthony Coley told KENS 5 about his daughter Courtney being forced to do bear crawls last week at Gregory Luna Middle School in San Antonio, Texas. School officials confirm that one girl suffered a panic attack and had trouble breathing during the exercise [demonstrated by Courtney, above], which was ordered as disciplinary action by a physical education teacher in response to an unidentified infraction. “I sent my daughter to school to learn and get an education,” Anthony continued, “not to be punished for something she didn’t even do.”

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Anthony Coley (Photo: KENS 5)

The lap-running punishment that the seventh-graders endured, all of whom were boys, was in response to one student bringing a BB gun to school and spilling pellets all over the gymnasium floor. The boys were reportedly instructed to run one lap for every BB spilled — for a grand total of more than 50. 

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“This is not OK behavior,” Courtney’s mother, Deborah Coley added, calling for a suspension of the teachers who ordered the activities “to send a message” to other educators and students. 

Student Courtney Coley said, “We didn’t do anything, so why are we being punished?” (Photo: KENS 5)

School administrators agree that the teachers’ actions were over the top. “That type of punishment is completely out of line and should’ve never occurred,” Northside Independent School District spokesperson Pascual Gonzalez told KENS 5. “Those teachers will be appropriately disciplined because those calls that they made for group punishment are totally inappropriate.”

And while KENS 5 reported that there were many other parents upset about the incidents — but unwilling to remark, for fear of retribution toward their kids — some social media commenters fumed freely about the controversy, for a very different reason than the parents expressed. “The coach was just teaching the kids what it means to be a team, if one kid fails the whole team fails,” one wrote on Facebook defending the gym teachers. Another added that the crawls and running were actually a good idea: “It will show the kids to always speak up even if their friends made a mistake by bringing a BB gun. It’ll show them to make correct decisions. Plus it’s PE. It’s supposed to be physical.”

Yet another commenter called for perspective, above all. “While I don’t like the fact that all kids had to endure the punishment because of some, it hardly constitutes abuse,” the Facebooker leveled. “It’s the same as any other class, when someone did something wrong we all got extra homework.”

Top photo: KENS 5

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