Students blistered, bruised after substitutes use exercise as punishment

Posted at 2:08 AM, Dec 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-04 02:08:56-05

FLORENCE, TX (KXAN/CNN) – Police and Child Protective Services are investigating after middle school students say two substitute teachers ordered them to do an exercise known as “bear crawls” for 100 yards as punishment.

Parents of about one dozen sixth grade students at Florence Middle School in Florence, TX, are demanding answers after their children came home with hands covered in blisters and bruises.

One parent says during a Thursday afternoon physical education class, the substitute teachers ordered the students to do “bear crawls” as punishment for one student not following the rules the day before.

The students had to do the exercise, which involves traveling on all fours while keeping the torso rigid, on the outdoor track around the football field. Parents say the track is what caused their children’s burns and injuries.

One parent says she never received a phone call or letter from the school about her son’s injuries. She only noticed them when he came home.

Student Michelle Gonzales, 11, says she is still in pain.

“I started to feel that things were stabbing into them [my hands], and then I stopped and checked them. They were filled with bruises and were bleeding,” Michelle said.

Michelle says one of the substitute teachers yelled at them, “This will show your respect.” The 11-year-old says she felt like they were treating students like soldiers.

Michelle’s mother pulled her out of school before the physical education class on Friday because the girl was afraid she would have to suffer the punishment again.

In a statement, Superintendent Paul Michalewicz said school district officials are aware of the allegations.

“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,” the statement read in part.

Copyright 2017 KXAN, Michelle Gonzales via CNN. All rights reserved.