School teacher suspended for striking child

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2005

Nancy Benson, a teacher at Greenville Elementary School, was suspended Aug. 26, for allegedly striking a student at a school water fountain.

According to Tisha Bailey Stoutmire, Benson, a third grade teacher, allegedly struck her son when he went to the water fountain.

"I walked into the school to pick up my son that afternoon," Stoutmire said. "I was standing against the wall, and I saw him go over to the water fountain. Whenever he bent down to drink some water, Ms. Benson hit him on the back of the head."

Stoutmire said that she and her husband, Quarmie Stoutmire, met with GES Principal Claire Jones and Benson immediately after the incident and that Benson apologized for striking their son.

Benson did not return phone calls for comment, but Jones said Benson told her that she could not comment on the advice of her attorney.

Stoutmire said she and her husband had been at the school that afternoon for a parent-teacher conference because of an earlier incident involving their child's misconduct.

"There was an incident that occurred at Greenville Elementary School that was investigated by the school's principal and by my office," said Butler County Schools' Superintendent Mike Looney, referring to the incident involving Benson. "Our investigation confirmed that one of our employees failed to follow appropriate procedures that have been established by school board policy as related to discipline. As a result, that employee was suspended immediately following the incident without pay for three working days. The matter has been resolved by my office and the employee has returned to work."

Looney, who was hired by the Butler County School Board in July, said accountability in the school system is a top priority and that proper procedure will be followed.

"I completely support our teachers and administrators and their work," he said. "However, I am also absolutely committed to collective accountability. I have high expectations for our employees' performance and actions, and I will accept nothing less."