by Jessica Samakow
May 27th 2011
Why do you need birthday candles when you can get a spanking? Credit: Getty Images At most schools, kids and classmates enjoy cupcakes and candy on their birthdays. But, at Washington Elementary School in Linn County, Iowa, administrator Terry Eisenbarth celebrates with a slightly less conventional tradition.
Eisenbarth, the principal at Washington Elementary, is under fire for spanking kids with a padded hockey stick on their birthdays, a tradition he calls "whammies," The Des Moines Register reports.
When word of the whammies spread, parents started to complain. Parent Steve Wernimont told the newspaper that his 7-year-old, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, "did not like it one bit." Wernimont went to the police and the school board, but only after Eisenbarth and Pamela Ewell, superintendent of the Mount Vernon Community School District, failed to respond to a concerned email.
Eisbenbarth then sent a letter to parents, attempting to justify his actions. The "pat on the backside" was meant to be a fun way to celebrate after a special announcement on the school intercom, he explains. He sings "Happy Birthday," gives the birthday student a pencil and a calculator -- and then a whammy.
The letter also promises to stop the tradition because of discomfort it has caused, the Register reports.
Members of the school board met Wednesday night to decide whether or not to take action against Eisenbarth. According to the Register, Carol Greta, an attorney at the Iowa Department of Education, said birthday spankings don't appear to violate a state ban on corporal punishment.
Bob Penn, the school board's vice president, would not disclose the board's next actions. "Our mission is always to try to make decisions that are in the best interests of the kids in the district," he tells the Register.
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