LAKE WYLIE, S.C. -- York County deputies confirmed Oakridge Middle School math teacher Chris Petrasek is charged with third degree assault and battery.
The charges stem from allegations made by three seventh grade students that Petrasek, who is also the school’s wrestling coach, spanked them inside classrooms from September through November 2011.
According to the York County Sheriff's Office reports, some of the victims said Petrasek laid them over his lap to spank them; one claimed the 48-year-old teacher held his neck, bent him over a desk and struck his buttocks.
“You can't spank a child at Oakridge Middle School,” said Deputy Mike Scurlock of the York County Sheriff’s Office. Clover School District outlawed corporal punishment in 2007.
The 12-year-olds told authorities they were spanked for missing questions on tests, getting low grades and talking out of turn. The students said the blows stung and they were embarrassed and intimidated by Petrasek.
Oakridge Middle School sixth grader Amber Lipscomb said her friends told her, “They didn't feel comfortable about it and that he should be fired.”
“Things like missing stuff on tests- corporal punishment should not be used for that, if it was something extreme maybe, but I think corporal punishment should be left up to the parents,” said Anissa Lipscomb, Amber’s mother.
Several parents told NewsChannel 36, they were angry a teacher would use corporal punishment, since it’s not allowed in Clover.
“Not spanking, maybe sit them by themselves or no recess. The parents should be the ones to really deal with that,” said Travis Crank, father to an Oakridge Middle School seventh grader.
Petrasek had been a math teacher with the Clover Schools since 2007. The district said he had been on paid leave for the past week during the investigation.
Deputies originally told NewsChannel 36 Thursday evening that Petrasek was no longer an employee, but the school district corrected the statement and said Petrasek is still suspended with pay until further notice.