Spring Lake principal removed for forcing students to walk in heat

Posted July 2, 2014

— A Spring Lake elementary school principal accused of forcing students to walk in the heat for hours was removed from her position, Cumberland County Schools said Wednesday.

Tammy Holland, who was in her first year leading Manchester Elementary School, has been temporarily reassigned to the district’s central office “until all personnel proceedings are complete,” the district said in a statement.

Parents said the incident was the latest miscommunication between the principal and families. Traditionally, students are not required to wear uniforms on the last day of school, but those who did not were punished.

Those students were required to walk for up to three hours on a dirt track behind the school.

An anonymous email to Cumberland County school board members claimed the students walked, without school breakfast or water, as temperatures climbed into the mid-80s.


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  • Classified Jul 3, 2014

    GOGREEN - “Again, posters like you are equating this to a "Death March"”

    Give it a rest, your comment is totally irrelevant as these kids weren't walking of their own accord they were being punished for someone else’s mistake?

  • winemaker81 Jul 3, 2014

    "Again, posters like you are equating this to a "Death March"." -- GOGREEN

    No one has termed this a "death march" except you. You are making light of a potentially serious situation.

    For most kids this situation was probably not deadly dangerous, but for some?

    My younger son has asthma. When he was in elementary school he had to use an inhaler BEFORE physical activity or he was likely to have problems breathing. Heat and exertion bring it on, and spending 3 hours in the sun qualifies.

    Google "heat prostration", "dehydration", and "asthma". You might learn something.

  • Nan Toppin Jul 3, 2014
    user avatar

    If this is true she deserves to be fired. If the kids were not dressed appropriately for school, parents should have been called to pick them up. The principal should not have the discretion to force them to walk the track for three hours. If water was withheld then I agree that is child endangerment. I would never send my kids outside to play for three hours and not make sure they had access to water. It is fortunate no one had an asthma attack, collapsed, or got seriously ill.

  • Jump1 Jul 3, 2014

    Very good move by the school, she should have not been chosen for the position. Why were they out walking anyway if not for punishment?

  • Djofraleigh Anderson Jul 3, 2014
    user avatar

    The principal was not fired, is still working at central office, and making the same pay. The principal is the responsible person at the school, and the one who ordered it, could have stopped it, and did not. Seems walking laps is not part of the curriculum and withholding food is not valid punishment.

    View quoted thread

  • GoGreen Jul 3, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I have three.

    Again, posters like you are equating this to a "Death March". I too had field day as a kid. It was always towards the end of the year, May most likely (getting old and cannot remember so well). I lived in Florida and went to an elementary school that HAD NO AIR CONDITIONING. Yeah it was hot but you can bet on field day all the kids were running (not walking) around all day and we didn't stop for shade or water or whatever.

    Much ado about nothing. I am not saying Ms Holland was a great principal. I don't know her. Maybe there are numerous other factors. I can only hope so because no one deserves to be fired over this little, insignificant incident. Get a grip. Poor communication skills, you betcha'. Child endangerment as some have alleged, nonsense.

  • Edward Levy Jul 3, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    PLAYING??? Methinks NOT! no water, no food, school clothes, punishment does not add up to playing. And what is this thing about a "white guy"? someone trying to make this a race issue, instead of very bad judgement by an administrator.

  • Amanda_NC Jul 3, 2014

    Making elementary school kids walk 3 hours for punishment is extreme, especially with no water breaks. It was the last day of school and more than likely at that age the parents told the children what to wear. If it was that big of a deal on the last day, parents should have been called to either pick their children up or bring their uniform.

  • Lightfoot3 Jul 3, 2014

    I seriously doubt any one child walked 3 hours, without breaks/water/etc. I remember having field day at school, where we ran around and did all kinds of stuff all day long, in the heat. I believe this is a case of "how dare you discipline my whiny brat!" What's next? Suing because the coach made you run laps?

  • Classified Jul 3, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Let’s be reasonable, “back in the day” when you were “playing” did you have to skip breakfast to do so? Were you allowed to have water when you got thirsty? Keep in mind that these kids weren't walking of their own accord they were being punished for someone else’s mistake?