A North Texas mom says she wants answers about the punishment her 12-year-old son received Friday for a missed math assignment.
“I think it’s extreme. I think it’s excessive,” Margie Wallis said.
Wallis said her seventh grader told her the discipline at Clark Middle School in Frisco was assigned by a football coach for her son and 10 other kids during a second period physical education class with the whole school day still ahead. The kids were told they were all in trouble for things that their classroom teacher had reported, she said.
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The punishment included running two laps around the track while holding a heavy medicine ball, then logrolling four times back and forth across the football field, Wallis said. It ended with 40 push-ups.
“My son said by the time he hit the midline of the football field he was so nauseated he couldn’t even see straight and was really struggling," Wallis said. "He finished all four of those faster than some of the other kids because they were stopping to throw up.”
Wallis said the boy had already received a lower grade for the missed math assignment and an hour of after-school detention.
“That feels appropriate. It’s in line with the school handbook. It’s an expected consequence,” Wallis said.
But Wallis said the athletic punishment was outside the normal scope of discipline.
“They didn’t tell me beforehand, and they didn’t tell me afterward. I learned it from him later in the day,” she said.
Shana Wortham, communication director for the Frisco Independent School District, responded by email:
“I spoke with the building principal who was unaware of any complaint or parent concern. He is looking into it. I can tell you, however, that students in extracurricular activities are held to a higher standard of conduct and consequences may be given when a student receives an infraction at school, such as a c-hall. If consequences are given, they are to be consistent with the sport, such as skill building, conditioning, agility, etc. We hope that if the parents have a concern or a medical condition that the school needs to be aware of that they will contact the school to set up a meeting and to go through our complaint process if necessary.”
Wallis said her son did participate in seventh grade football, but the season is already over.
This is her fourth son to attend the same school, and she said coaches have been known to issue discipline on behalf of other teachers at the school before.
Wallis said other parents with whom she spoke are not upset, but she is sending complaints to the school district and to Texas Child Protective Services over the issue.
“I think if any parent in Frisco gave their child a discipline for the specific purpose of making them nauseated and dizzy, Child Protective Services might have something to say about it. So for a football coach to do that and other parents to stand by is astonishing to me,” Wallis said.