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Washington teacher told not to use disciplinary 'Wheel of Misfortune' for punishing students; punishment included being pelted with rubber balls

The science teacher used the wheel to punish "low-level misconduct" instead of sending the students to detention.

Updated:October 20, 2014, 9:04 AM IST
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Washington teacher told not to use disciplinary 'Wheel of Misfortune' for punishing students; punishment included being pelted with rubber balls
The science teacher used the wheel to punish "low-level misconduct" instead of sending the students to detention.

Seattle: A Washington state high school teacher has been warned not to have students spin a disciplinary "Wheel of Misfortune" to assign punishments for misbehavior that included being pelted with rubber balls by fellow students, school officials said.

The Stevenson High School science teacher used the wheel to punish "low-level misconduct" instead of sending the students to lunch-time detention, Superintendent Dan Read wrote in a letter to parents on Thursday.

Results from a third-party investigation on Wednesday showed the teacher's spinning punishment prop to be "inappropriate, but well-intentioned" and that the teacher did not "desire to embarrass, intimidate or harm any student," Read said.

"Poor judgment by any teacher is concerning and we plan to work with the teacher on more positive and productive classroom management skills going forward," he added.

The school, in Skamania County near the Washington-Oregon border, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did the teacher. A high school employee reached by phone on Friday afternoon said she was back in the classroom.

Cell phone footage purportedly captured from the classroom and posted to the Internet last week shows a student getting pelted with rubber balls as he cowers and shields his face with a book.

The tactic has drawn complaints. Zoey Zapfe, a 15-year-old sophomore, told KATU News she was punished by the rubber-ball firing squad for chewing gum in class.

"I'm hoping she gets fired because it was beyond humiliating," Zapfe told the local broadcaster.

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