Mother pursuing legal action over recess detention at elementary - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Mother pursuing legal action over recess detention at elementary school

(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)
Gabreil Amos demonstrating what he had to do during recess detention. (Source:  WAFB) Gabreil Amos demonstrating what he had to do during recess detention. (Source: WAFB)

Possible legal action is looming against a school in Denham Springs. 

A mother says Northside Elementary is guilty of endangering her son when he attended the school last year. Gabreil Amos, 9, demonstrated Thursday what has become a polarizing topic for parents: recess detention. 

"They didn't tell us what was going on with our children," said his mom, Cynthia Amos. 

She's the latest parent to say the school made her son hold safety cones as a form of punishment. 

"I was kind of astounded. I was like, 'I can't see anybody doing anything like this to a child,'" said Amos. 

In a 9News report Tuesday, a picture was broadcasted of a third grader reenacting what his mother said was his recess detention. But unlike the boy seen standing in the picture, Gabreil said he had to hold cones while also doing the "invisible chair." 

"Every time when my legs locked up, I had to do it again the next day," said Amos. 

And he said he got called names by Principal JoAn Cook. 

"She usually said, 'You're a little weakling,'" the boy said. 

Gabreil said he watched as his classmates in detention struggled too, some of them crying. 

"They were talking to each other and they said, 'I never want to come back to this school,'" he said. 

This allegedly happened when Gabreil was in third grade last year. But his mom just found out when he opened up Wednesday night following the report. 

The reason she's just finding out is because Gabreil said he was afraid to tell. 

"They said if I told my parents that I would have five more days of it," he said. 

Livingston Parish Schools Superintendent John Watson confirmed Tuesday that punishment using safety cones did happen last year at the school, but as an alternative to suspension and only with parental consent. Gabreil's mother said that's not true. 

"I just don't understand how that is acceptable punishment for my child especially when I had signed paperwork that no form of corporal punishment was allowed," said Amos.

Supt. Watson also said it wasn't happening anymore, which conflicted with what two other parents said in Tuesday's report. Supt. Watson said Thursday that he will make no further comment about the issue. 

As for Amos, she is now contacting her attorney. 

"If they don't think they did anything wrong, they wouldn't have hid it," said Amos. 

The school office at Northside Elementary did not return calls from 9News on both Tuesday and Thursday. 

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