No punishment for staffer in incident with Springboro 8th grader

No punishment for staffer in incident with Springboro 8th grader

Springboro school officials decided Friday that no disciplinary action would be taken against a class monitor involved in an incident with a junior high student during the Pledge of Allegiance.

The eighth-grade girl remained seated for the Pledge, her father said Friday, prompting a reaction from the class monitor. Before school officials announced Friday afternoon that no discipline would be taken against the monitor, the father said school officials did a “very credible job” in their handling of the incident.

“For her to stand for what she believes in, I totally support that as her father,” he added during a phone interview.

The father, who did not want to be identified, said he and his wife had discussed with their children the issue surrounding athletes kneeling during the National Anthem.

The issue stems from reactions around the nation and at NFL games since Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012, took a knee in protest of what he called police brutality involving black men and women killed by police.

Kaepernick is not playing this year, prompting other players to kneel in support.

“I guess she felt strongly about that,” the father said, adding the girl had been seated all year during the pledge at the beginning of each day at Springboro Junior High School.

In neighboring Lebanon, the school board emerged from an executive session last month to announce it would take no action after the school superintendent kept both football teams off the field during the National Anthem before a game to avoid problems, inciting a community debate.

The Springboro father said this was not the first time the school employee “had made comments to her for not standing.”

Scott Marshall, the Springboro schools communications director, said the study-hall monitor is a classified employee, not a teacher, and has worked for the district eight months.

On Thursday, the father said the monitor tapped his daughter on the shoulder as she sat during the pledge and tried to pull her to her feet.

The monitor “proceeded to try and grab her by the arm to have her to stand,” he said.

Marshall said officials had not heard that account.

The school principal walked by and the girl caught his attention, prompting him to take her to the school office and call her parents to tell them “my daughter had not done anything wrong at all,” the father said.

“At a minimum,” he said his family hoped the monitor would be reprimanded.

“This is a country that is established on freedom of speech,” he said.

On Friday, no students were at school, but the monitor was called in for a “formal discussion” with school officials, Marshall said.

Marshall said the class monitor touched the girl on the shoulder or back.

A relative of another eighth-grader contacted Cox Ohio Media about a claim of a physical altercation involving the monitor and an African-American student.

But the father said he did not know if the problem was racially based.

A Springboro police official said the department is not involved.

Jennifer Balduf contributed to this report.

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