Tuesday Weisblog: Toe the line

Today’s blog is in honor of the first day of school here in Seminole County!

A few years ago – maybe one generation ago, to be exact – you’d hear stories about kids getting their knuckles popped for misbehaving in school.

It appears that a Tampa, FL assistant principal has brought back old-time discipline, this time with a slightly new wrinkle.

King High School assistant principal Olayinka Alege has apparently gotten into the habit of “toe popping,” that is, having a student remove their shoe and literally popping them on the toes.

“(I) was ordered to remove a shoe and sock, and lift up a foot and Mr. Alege popped his toes by pulling them out and bending them down,” said one student.

Another student said he was told by Alege that, “I will pop a toe for each bad grade you have.”

He allegedly told another that because he could not hit them, he would pop their toes.

There have been a number of accusations, though all students claim the form of punishment did not hurt. Most said it was just “weird,” and I have to agree.

Despite his oddities, Alege is very popular at the school, and it appears that nothing is going to happen to him except that he’s no longer allowed to pop toes.

It doesn’t appear that there are any long-term effects from this, as long as it’s not being done repeatedly – as it’s much like knuckle-cracking.

A psychiatrist interviewed on the subject said she thought it was abusive. “Nobody is allowed to touch a student in the form of discipline or otherwise,” Stacey Scheckner said. “And whatever actions the students did, the consequence needed to be directly related to that misbehavior. The consequence needed to be specific, concrete and related to the incident that will actually teach them a lesson. Next time, instead of choosing to misbehave, they would think about what they were doing.”

Unfortunately, Alege and his principal were not available for comment. Too bad. I’d like to hear from them.


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