Parents at a Texas middle school are outraged after their children came home with bruised and bloodied hands, the result of reportedly being told to crawl along the school's asphalt track as punishment.
Several students at Florence Middle School in Florence, Texas, say substitute physical education teachers made them do "bear crawls" on the track as punishment for a single student's behavior. "Bear crawls" are done by walking on hands and feet without letting the knees touch the ground, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Florence Police, Child Protective Services and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services are currently investigating the case. The punishment was limited to one class of 16 children.
Two pairs of parents filed complaints with police after their children came home with visible injuries on Nov. 30.
"My son got off easy," one parent told KXAN. "He has some blisters, but not nearly as bad as some of the kids."
The parent says the school failed to notify her of her son's injuries.
Nancy Gonzalez said she was "horrified" to see the injuries on her 11-year-old daughter when she picked her up from school. She says school officials refused to talk to her when she went to the office.
Nancy's daughter Michelle, her hands bandaged, told KXAN her hand still hurt after the forced 100-yard crawl.
"I started to feel that things were stabbing into [my hands], and then I stopped and checked them," she said. "They were filled with bruises and were bleeding."
While the students were crawling, one of the substitute teachers yelled, "This will show you respect," Michelle said.
Nancy pulled her daughter out of school early Dec. 1 so Michelle wouldn't have to return to the physical education class.
The class was treated "like soldiers," she said.
In a statement, Florence Independent School District Superintendent Paul Michalewicz said the school district is conducting its own investigation:
Florence ISD has been made aware of allegations that an incident occurred in a class at the Middle School yesterday, where several students' hands were injured. We are extremely concerned, and we are conducting a thorough investigation into what happened and how it happened, so that we can determine the very best way to respond. We want our parents and community to know and be assured that our staff work hard every day to protect our students and the education environment. Our students' safety and well being is our top priority, and we deeply regret when any student is injured at school.