Students made to do ‘bear crawls’ end up with blisters, bruises

Blisters and bruises on a hand after a student did bear crawls at Florence Middle School. (via Florence MS parent)
Blisters and bruises on a hand after a student did bear crawls at Florence Middle School. (via Florence MS parent)

FLORENCE, Texas (KXAN) — Parents of numerous students at Florence Middle School are demanding answers after their children came home with hands covered in blisters and bruises after being told to do an exercise as punishment. Child Protective Services and the Florence Police Department are now investigating.

One parent told KXAN on Thursday afternoon in sixth period Physical Education class, the substitute teacher ordered the students to do “bear crawls” as punishment for a student not following the rules the day before. The students had to do the bear crawls on the outdoor track around the football field, which parents say is what caused the burns and injuries.

“My son got off easy,” says one Florence MS parent. “He has some blisters, but not nearly as bad as some of the kids.” The parent says she never received a phone call or letter from the school about the injuries, she only noticed them when he came home.

Another parent reported to KXAN there were about a dozen students in the class.

Student Michelle Gonzales says she is still in pain. “They made us do that 100 yards.” She said she felt like things were stabbing into her hands and checked them, finding her hands bloody and bruised.

Gonzales says a sub was yelling at them, “this will show your respect!” The 11-year-old said she felt like they were treating students like soldiers.

In a statement, Superintendent Paul Michalewicz said they are aware of the allegations:

Florence ISD has been made aware of allegations that an incident occurred in a class at the Middle School yesterday, where several students’ hands were injured. We are extremely concerned, and we are conducting a thorough investigation into what happened and how it happened, so that we can determine the very best way to respond. We want our parents and community to know and be assured that our staff work hard every day to protect our students and the educational environment. Our students’ safety and well being is our top priority, and we deeply regret when any student is injured at school.”

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