Principal accused making kid stick out tongue

Published 1:18 pm Friday, April 15, 2011

A Mississippi elementary school principal is fighting for her job after being accused of withholding food from a special needs student and forcing the second grader to stick out his tongue for an extended period of time as a form of punishment.

West Amory Elementary School Principal Leigh Todd allegedly made the boy stick out his tongue March 7 as punishment for sticking out his tongue and telling a teacher to shut up.

During a public hearing Tuesday, Amory Superintendent of Education Gearl Loden called the punishment “abuse,” according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

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Loden has recommended that Todd be fired.

Todd’s witnesses have not yet testified. The hearing was delayed until the parties can work out scheduling.

Todd’s attorney, Jim Waide, has said the parents knew about the punishment. That has been disputed.

Loden said he once considered Todd one of his star administrators. He said he frequently bragged on her performance.

Loden said that if the school board doesn’t uphold his recommendaton to fire Todd, then he would probably have to step down as superintendent.

“Everything I have is on the line for this kid. I don’t care if it costs me my job,” he said.

Several teachers testified that they saw the boy being forced to keep his tongue out of his mouth, even during their staff meetings. They said Todd swatted him with a ruler when he put his tongue back into his mouth.