Sandpaper Spelling Assignment At Florida Middle School Leaves Kids Bleeding, Parents Outraged

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Florida sixth grader Josh Sommer is upset that a school assignment has left him with a bloody scabbed fingertip.

Anna Garrett, a teacher at Burns Middle School in Brandon, Fla., handed students corrected spelling exams and told students to trace each corrected word five times on sandpaper, five times a day for five consecutive days. Josh, 11 years old, tells WFTS that his finger started to bleed by the 125th repetition.

"Then by the end of the time, my whole table was bleeding," he told WFTS. When students complained about the pain, the teacher reportedly told the children to sit down and keep quiet. "I didn't want to get yelled at by my teacher."

Parents are accusing Garrett, an educator of 27 years, of abusing children. She is on paid administrative leave until school officials complete an investigation and determine whether to bring her back into the classroom. The local sheriff's office is also investigating the incident.

"We do encourage teachers to think outside of the box and do things that may be more innovative, but if this is something that hurts kids, then it's clearly something we would discourage," Hillsborough School District spokesperson Steve Hegerty told WTSP.

Josh tells the station that the assignment didn't help him learn how to correctly spell the words. Mother Darleanea Sommer is furious, telling WFTS that she will not be sending Josh back to Burns Middle if Garrett is reinstated.

In another reading-writing case at Burns Middle School last September, a district elementary school teacher was warned after parents complained that she brought a Ouija Board for a guest reading presentation at the middle school. District officials told Bloomingdale-Riverview Patch that the board was only a motivational tool, and students did not actually use the device.

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