South Bend - How far is too far when trying to teach teenagers a lesson?
Our partners at the South Bend Tribune report Riley High School Teacher, Carol Wallace, is accused of encouraging two students to fight each other and also striking one of those students in the face.
Wallace was suspended for five days without pay in December.
Comments on our website have been largely sympathetic, saying it's hard to teach kids these days.
Carol Wallace has been a part of the South Bend School Corporation for 35 years and and hasn't had any trouble like this in the past.
The incident happened on Sept. 13, 2010.
Wallace's classroom at Riley High School was disrupted by two misbehaving students.
So Wallace took action, but some say, she took it too far.
The report from the South Bend School Corporation reads:
"Mrs. Wallace directed two students to step into the hallway and told them not to return until one was 'bloody.' It was also uncontested that when Ms. Wallace later talked with the students in the hallway, she brushed away one student's hand from his face, striking his cheek."
A report is filed with Child Protective Services in any case involving an altercation between a student and a teacher.
“Even though Child Protective Services didn't come to a conclusion one way or another it was still up to Mr. Kapsa," said South Bend School Board Member Bill Sniadecki.
Superintendent Jim Kapsa recommended a 5-day suspension without pay for Wallace.
Wallace appealed that recommendation, but the school board voted in favor of it 5-2.
“When they do come down with a decision, how much time off or being fired, the amount of service, no write ups or stuff in the past comes into consideration," Sniadecki said.
Wallace has not had previous problems.
“Wow it seems that her actions were very inappropriate," said Maggie Michel from South Bend.
Kapsa's decision leaves some parents fuming.
“Five days...doesn't seem like enough to me for that type of behavior, it's almost barbaric," Michel said.
“I think she should be fired," said a parent Joyce Maxwell Downs.
Some say it's about forgiveness.
“If she truly made a mistake which we all do, and she truly gets the help she needs from that point, make an assessment at that time," said parent Cindy Kennelly.
Police said the student involved filed a police report on the day of the incident.
This case has been handed over to the Special Victims Unit of the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office.
We tried to speak with Superintendent Kapsa for more information, but he declined to comment.
In fact, the South Bend Tribune had to file a freedom of information request to get the information on what happened.