FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — The South Carolina State Board of Education has suspended a special education teacher’s educator certificate for two years after she reportedly spanked a student with a ruler.
The state issued the order of suspension on May 17. It will last until May 16, 2024.
Barbara Lorraine Cherry was teaching at Theodore Lester Elementary School in Florence during the 2019-20 academic year when a student “became overly upset after viewing another student’s breakfast and wanted a different option,” according to suspension documents. The students were able to choose what they wanted to have for breakfast a day ahead of time.
Cherry then took a ruler she kept at her desk and used it “to create noise to gain the students’ attention,” according to the documents. After the student got upset, she spanked them three times with the ruler. She also used “inappropriate language.”
She resigned on Jan. 29, 2020, five days after the incident, according to documents. She apologized for her actions in a statement to the state board.
The cause for the state’s decision is listed as “unprofessional conduct by making inappropriate physical contact with a student and using vulgar language towards that student,” according to the documents.
She was alerted about having a right to a hearing in October 2020, according to documents. She requested a hearing in November 2020, which was then scheduled for April 29, 2022. On April 18 of this year, she alerted the board that she did not want a hearing, and chose to instead provide a written statement.