An Oklahoma principal accused of using a wooden paddle to spank two elementary school students, ages 10 and 11, has been charged with child abuse.
Pittsburg County court records indicate 50-year-old Gary Gunckel was charged with two counts of child abuse by injury on Friday.
Gunckel is the principal at Indianola Public Schools Elementary.
Oklahoma principal, Gary Gunckel (pictured), 50, who was accused of using a wooden paddle to spank two elementary school students has been charged with child abuse
He has been accused of ‘using unreasonable force’ on September 6 when he paddled the students, according to theMcAlester News-Capital.
According to an affidavit, both boys were bruised by the beating.
The mother of one student contacted PittsburgCounty Sheriff’s Deputy Cody Vaughn regarding her son being struck with a paddle, according to the News-Capital.
Vaughn said the mother told him that her son had gotten into a spat with the other boy from school that included several threats.
The mother reportedly told the deputy that she spoke with Gunckel and had given him permission to give her son two swats.
She also confirmed that her son did receive two swats.
Indianola Superintendent Adam Newman says Gunckel has been placed on administrative leave
But the mother said it wasn’t until her son complained of his bottom hurting that she observed bruising with whelps on his buttocks.
The mom told the officer that she felt the bruising was excessive, according to the News-Capital.
The mother of the second child also claimed her son had bruising on his buttocks.
Both mothers then agreed to file a joint incident report about the paddling.
Authorities said photos were taken of the children’s buttocks and showed dark bruises covering both cheeks ‘and even some bruising on the spine area and tailbone’.
Indianola Superintendent Adam Newman said in a press statement that Gunckel has been placed on administrative leave ‘while the legal process determines the outcomes’.
The statement goes on to say that ‘Mr. Gunckel followed district policy’.
‘In addition to following district policy, all administrators are asked to contact parents and offer alternatives to the discipline options.
‘While the district has a policy in place that outlines the student discipline, including the types of discipline methods available for administrators to utilize, the administration will seek out input from our community and parents, to determine their thoughts and opinions on whether or not we will move to change the discipline policy,’ the statement added.
Gunckel hasn’t returned a telephone call seeking comment. Court records don’t list an attorney who can speak on his behalf.
A preliminary hearing conference is scheduled October 12.
Indianola Superintendent Adam Newman says Gunckel has been placed on administrative leave. Pictured is the school where Gunckel is principal