Spanking disagreement unfolds in chaos during school registration

Published: Aug. 3, 2013 at 2:55 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2013 at 2:27 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - If the long lines at the Muscogee County Public Education Center weren't stressful enough, parents trying to register their children for school found themselves in the middle of a disruptive altercation with police involved.

Witnesses said a disagreement about the way a woman was spanking her granddaughter ended with a teenager in handcuffs. One parent said she spent over six hours waiting to register her child for classes.

"It was packed, there was not enough room, barely, to sit.  It was so packed in there that I pulled my chair to the side to just even be able to have a little leg room.  It was hot, there were a lot of people, the grown-ups were complaining, so you know the child was having a hard time," said Cardella Scroggins.

Isabelle Morris said her 5-year-old granddaughter had enough of the waiting and began misbehaving.

"She started crying and getting down on the floor and she had her feet wrapped around the chair, and I was just trying to get her up so I could take her out," said Morris.

"She was all on the floor making a big, screaming, hollering, saying I want my daddy, I want my daddy, and just acting really crazy. So the grandma popped her sort of like, you know, a little pop," said Scroggins.

Kyishea Moore witnessed the commotion and described the spanking as, "a grandmotherly tap, like what your grandmother would do, my grandmother would do, just pop, pop, pop."

District officials said a school employee witnessed the spanking and decided to intervene.

"And that's when the lady came and said, 'No, no, no, you are not allowed to spank your child here. I will call 911,'" said Moore.

"She told me that if I kept spanking her she was going to call the cops on me," said Morris.

Brannon Waters was sitting behind the 5-year-old girl when she began to act out. He said the school district employee, "took the child from the grandmother and sat there in the little area right by the lobby.  The brother of the little girl who was crying came up and he was trying to console his sister."

"He was trying to get the baby from this lady," added Morris.

"The little girl's brother said I need to call my mother, and the police officer said, put down your phone," said Scroggins.

Waters said the officer grabbed the boy's arm, and the boy responded aggressively, so the officer slammed him against a wall and put handcuffs on him.

School district communications director, Valerie Fuller, said, "The 15-year-old obstructed the officer and became disorderly and was charged with obstruction and disorderly conduct.  The officer examined the 5-year-old and there was no indication of excessive force or abuse. The grandmother was not charged."

The entire affair increased delays for people who were already waiting a long time to register for school.

"They actually stopped calling numbers.  They weren't calling numbers, everything was just in a commotion," said Moore.

"Especially a day like this with everyone excited. He was here for his school registration. It was terrifying.  It was terrifying to watch that," said witness, Caroliny Costa.

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