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July 3, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Idaho teacher who had kids mark faces of slow readers to return

DECLO, Idaho (AP) — A southern Idaho teacher who allowed her fourth-grade students to use markers to draw on the faces of six classmates who failed to meet their reading goals will return to the Declo school for the 2013-2014 school year.

Cassia County school board member Steve Lynch tells The Times-News that Summer Larsen’s contract was renewed based on teacher evaluations performed by principal Rebecca Hunsaker, who recently retired.

“The evaluation recommended rehiring Larsen,” Lynch said. “The evaluation was done appropriately and professionally and supported that decision.”

The newspaper could not reach Hunsaker for comment.

Cindy Hurst said her 10-year-old son came home from school Nov. 5 with his entire face — including his eyelids — scribbled on with green, red and purple markers.

“He was humiliated, he hung his head and wanted to go wash his face,” Hurst said at the time. “He knows he’s a slow reader. Now he thinks he should be punished for it.”

The Cassia County School District filed a complaint against Larsen with the Department of Education’s Professional Standards Commission.

Superintendent Gaylen Smyer said the investigation is complete and Education Department spokeswoman Melissa McGrath said there is no formal discipline in Larsen’s file.

“I was told any PSC activity in this case would not preclude the school district from renewing Mrs. Larsen’s contract for the 2013-2014 school years,” Smyer wrote in an email to The Times-News.

An investigation found nine students who didn’t meet their reading goals were allowed to choose between staying in during recess or having their faces marked. Three chose to forgo recess, while six allowed the other students to draw on their faces.

Larsen, who has been with the district for six years, hasn’t commented on the issue. She does not have a listed phone number.

Comments | More in Education, General news, Government | Topics: DECLO, Idaho, marked faces


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