An East Texas principal was arrested after paddling a female student and causing “substantial bruising.”
Overton High School Principal Jeffery Darryl Hogg was arrested last Wednesday on one count of assault causing bodily injury related to his spanking of a student with a wooden paddle on August 14, according to court records, per USA Today.
“One of the worst things I’ve ever felt in my life,” the student told Fox 51 KETK.
An arrest affidavit from the Rusk County Sheriff’s Department obtained by USA Today reportedly said Hogg “hit her with such force that she had bruising at least 48 hours after the paddling.”
Although Hogg was arrested, Rusk County Criminal Chief Deputy Kayla Kirkland told The Dallas Express that he “has not been indicted on that charge.”
The affidavit reportedly does not explain why the student was being punished. However, her mother, who was present during the incident, reported it to the sheriff’s office the next day.
The school allegedly had permission from the mother to use corporal punishment on her daughter, including three swats “on the butt.” The student reportedly told the principal she did not want the last strike after already receiving two.
“The second hit was harder than the first hit and she had never hurt like that,” the deputy wrote in the affidavit, per USA Today.
The principal allegedly responded by telling her, “It would be a shame to have to go to [in-school suspension] when she only had one lick left.” The student then agreed to receive a third strike but took photos of the bruises as they developed throughout the day.
A nurse subsequently examined the bruises, and a local child advocacy center interviewed the student. The student reportedly had “substantial bruising, swelling and heat” after about 32 hours.
“Physical punishment that results in injuries that last longer than 24 hours is consistent with child physical abuse,” a pediatrician who reviewed the injuries reportedly told sheriff’s deputies.
Recent Overton High School graduate Tara Coleman told ABC 7 KLTV she does not feel the incident is out of character for Hogg.
“Mr. Hogg has always made it clear that he will discipline you if it is needed and he does call your parents,” she said. “Every morning he talks about how he loves each and every one of us and he just wants to help everybody that he can.”
Overton ISD released a statement on August 15 addressing concerns about the incident and clarified that “parents have a choice in whether or not corporal punishment is one of the consequences available when addressing their student.”
“Recently, a student was assigned to one day of [In-School Suspension] as a consequence. On the morning the student was to serve the day in ISS, the parent and student arrived and asked to speak with the principal,” the statement continued. “Rather than ISS, they expressed a preference for corporal punishment (3 swats). The parent remained present as a witness to the discipline, and the principal asked another female teacher to serve as a witness as well.”
“After each swat, the student had a choice of whether to continue. The student did consider discontinuing and serving ISS instead, but twice, the parent encouraged the student to just keep going and ‘get it over with.’ The principal remained empathetic and calm throughout, checking with the student before proceeding. At no time, did the parent or witnessing teacher express any concern that the swats were too harsh or overly aggressive.”
The Dallas Express reached out to Overton ISD for further information but received no response by press time.