Teacher's Disciplinary Tool: 'Wheel of Misfortune'

Punishments included 'Koosh ball firing squad'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2014 11:13 AM CDT

A Washington high school chemistry teacher had an unconventional means of doling out discipline in her classroom: Kem Patteson used a "wheel of misfortune" to determine what punishment a student would face, and one of those punishments involved being pelted with rubber Koosh balls by other students. Students say she's been using the method for at least two years. But after one student complained recently about experiencing the Koosh ball treatment and another student put a video of one such incident on social media, the Stevenson High School teacher was put on administrative leave while the Stevenson-Carson School District investigated. But Patteson was back in the classroom Thursday, KGW reports.

A letter to parents released the next day said that Patteson's discipline method was found to be "inappropriate, but well-intentioned, and the teacher did not desire to embarrass, intimidate, or harm any student." The district promised to work with her on "more positive and productive classroom management skills." In a story earlier this month, KATU spoke to a 15-year-old who got the Koosh ball treatment: "I was chewing gum in class. She looked over and she told me to spin the wheel and that's like a normal thing." It landed on "Koosh firing squad," the girl says, adding that it hurt as almost 30 students plus Patteson threw the balls at her. But some in the district thought the whole thing was overblown. "Honestly, she's a great teacher," says one former student. Adds a mom of one of Patteson's current students, "I think it was a bunch of hoopla about not much at all." (More strange stuff stories.)

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