11/22/2012 12:41 pm ET Updated Jan 22, 2013

Stadium Elementary Teacher Fired From Rhode Island School For Punishing Students In The Cold

A Rhode Island substitute teacher has been fired after he reportedly sent two third-grade children out in the cold as punishment for talking in class.

Temperatures were in the 40s Monday just after the lunch hour when the teacher opted to send two Stadium Elementary School students outside without jackets for speaking out of turn. Joe Bettencourt was in the class at the time, and the 8-year-old told ABC 6 that he was concerned about his peers. Students also say that the teacher would not let the children back in, despite their knocking from the outside.

"I was wondering if anyone was going to get kidnapped," Joe told the station. "So I raised my hand and told the teacher and he said, 'No, no one is going to get kidnapped,' but I just wasn't sure if it was right."

Cranston Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Ray Votto confirmed the incident, but would not identify the substitute teacher, citing confidentiality rules for personnel matters, according to Cranston Patch. Votto was informed of the incident by the school principal, but parents weren't told until their children returned home to tell the story.

While the educator has been fired from Stadium Elementary, it's unclear whether he will be barred from all district schools.

"Parents obviously, justifiably complained," Frank Lombardi of the Cranston School Committee told WPRI. "If I had my druthers and everything is true, that substitute teacher should not be working in Cranston, but that's not my decision to make at this point."

Peers of the punished students said the children were terrified and never want to see the teacher again. Parents are still up in arms over the incident and want to make sure that the educator learns his lesson.

"Even if it wasn't a cold day, it's wrong," parent Gina Clapprood told ABC 6. "Students outside were scared. Students inside were scared for their friends. It's just an awful situation."



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