SPRING LAKE: Manchester Elementary principal removed from job - WNEM TV 5

Spring Lake principal reassigned after parents questioned 'walking' punishment

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The principal at Manchester Elementary School in Spring Lake is accused of sending students not in uniform to walk outside in the heat. The principal at Manchester Elementary School in Spring Lake is accused of sending students not in uniform to walk outside in the heat.
SPRING LAKE, N.C. -

A Cumberland County elementary school principal has been removed from her job following an investigation into allegations that she forced some students to walk outside for up to 2.5 hours for failing to wear their school uniforms.

Tammy Holland has been temporarily reassigned to the Cumberland County Schools central office, Superintendent Frank Till said Wednesday. She was principal at Manchester Elementary School in Spring Lake.

Holland has 14 days to appeal the decision.

Parents had complained that Holland made students walk outside the school for hours because they did not wear their uniforms on the last day of school, June 10. Parents also said the children were not allowed to eat breakfast at school and that teachers were told not to give them water while they walked.

"They made us walk in the hot sun for 3 hours with one water bottle and one bathroom break," explained fifth grader Theophilus Owens. "They only let us go in the shade for a little bit."

Theophilus also said several students were sweaty and appeared to be overheated. He said one girl even fainted.

Till said the school systems' administrative staff conducted an investigation into the claims. After reviewing the information from the investigation, Till said he "determined that sufficient evidence exists to remove Holland as principal and assign her temporarily to the Central Office until all personnel proceedings are complete."

Parent Sharon Bradshaw said she saw more than a dozen students being sent outside to walk when she went inside the school. She sent her son to school in his uniform despite the fact that he had heard from his teacher that it would be OK to go to school out of uniform.

She said the school has traditionally allowed students to ditch their uniforms on the last day of school. She said this was Holland's first year at the school and she feels Holland did not do a good job of communicating that uniforms were expected.

"It was childish," Bradshaw said. "For a principal to do something like that makes me wonder if I'm event sending my kids back to school there."

Bradshaw and other parents said the children had to walk until a parent brought them a uniform to wear for the rest of the short school day.

Till said aside from athletics, physical punishment is not allowed in the district's schools.

Till also said Holland was moved to Manchester Elementary because it was under-performing. He said she has a history of improving achievement in schools where she was previously principal.

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