On Thursday, March 5th, school officials say Courtni was misbehaving, and Gregory reprimanded the 5-year-old by paddling her.
Shortly after the disciplinary measure was taken, it’s alleged that another teacher told Gregory that Courtni had made the statement, “it didn’t even hurt,” at which time Gregory paddled the student a second time.
Courtni’s father, Micky Biggers, took photos of his daughter’s contusions with his cell phone and reported the incident to local authorities. (* It should be noted that 30-year-old Micky Biggers is a registered violent sex offender in the state of Tennessee, convicted of attempted rape in September 2000)
In the Macon County School System’s Code of Acceptable Behavior and Discipline, adopted in September of 2000, use of corporal punishment is permitted as such:
VI. Corporal Punishment
Corporal punishment may be used in a reasonable manner only after other measures to correct behavior(s) have been exhausted, or the conduct of a student is of such nature that corporal punishment is the most reasonable form of punishment under the circumstances.
Although Gregory has apologized to the girl’s parents, Mickey says he is not satisfied with the punishment handed down to Courtni’s teacher, referring to her suspension as “a slap on the wrist,” and claiming that his daughter is now afraid to attend school.
In her 29 years as a teacher, Gregory has maintained a spotless teaching record, and it was reported by countywide guidance counselor Jane Biles, that many of her students’ parents contacted the Macon County Board of Education to request that she return to the classroom as soon as possible.
The Chronicle has also received many phone calls supporting Mrs. Gregory and crediting her as an “excellent teacher.”
Macon County Director of Schools Darrel Law said in an interview with News Channel 4 that Gregory used poor judgment and may have acted out of anger, commenting that the girl should not have been paddled a second time.
Since the incident, Courtni has been removed from her class, and the case is being investigated by the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) and the Lafayette Police Department.
The Macon County school board plans to meet next month to review the district's policies on corporal punishment.
The Macon County Department of Education released this statement to the press on Wednesday, March 18, regarding the incident:
“An incident occurred at Fairlane Elementary regarding corporal punishment. We, as a school system, have dealt with this effectively. All of the necessary parties have been contacted. The proper investigations have already occurred in dealing with this situation. The school system has followed proper procedures according to TOSS Counsel. We have been working with all parents involved directly or indirectly to answer any questions or concerns that may have arisen.”