Parents at a private religious school in Florida are demanding criminal charges be brought against a pastor following allegations he took off his belt to whip at least eight children in a fourth-grade classroom.
Pastor Terence Gray is alleged to have entered the class of nine- and ten-year-olds at St. Mark AME Church’s Alpha Learning Academy in Orlando on Thursday afternoon, demanding to know which children had been behaving badly.
The pastor is said to have walked into the class asking for the children to stand up and admit to ‘bad behavior’ before threatening to carrying out an even more severe punishment.
The teacher then outed the misbehaving children, forcing them to stand up.
After having the children line up, Pastor Gray took off the belt he was wearing around his pants and individually administered three lashes to each of the pupils, leaving some with bruises on their upper legs.
‘He said he was going to whoop us with a belt because were were being bad, ‘ Shane Walker, a student at the school for seven years, told WFTV
”He said he was going to whoop us with a belt because were were being bad,’ one student, Shane Walker, a student at the school for seven years said
Pastor Terence Gray is alleged to have entered the class of nine and ten-year-olds at St. Mark AME Church’s Alpha Learning Academy in Orlando on Thursday afternoon, demanding to know which children had been behaving badly
Although Gray is the pastor of the church associated with the school, parents say he is not supposed to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the educational establishment.
Janesha Martin, Walker’s mother, was upset at learning of the cruel and unusual punishment.
‘This makes me really emotional. I don’t send my child to school to be abused by anyone,’ she said. The pastor should have been arrested last night!’
Martin has since pulled Walker from the school, noting how such incidents had never occurred before.
The pastor is said to have walked into the class asking for the children to stand up and admit to ‘bad behavior’ or threatened to dish out an even more severe punishment
She pointed out she had also never given consent for any physical punishment to be administered despite the school saying her child volunteered for them to be whipped.
‘They were hysterically crying and calling parents,’ another parent told WESH.
‘Pastor Gray said that the children volunteered, which is a lie,’ Martin told WFTV. ‘My child would never volunteer to… disciplinary action of that sort.’
The school’s handbook does not mention whipping as an acceptable form of punishment.
Another parent, Kinshasa Felix, also pulled her daughter out of class after she was whipped for drawing pictures of children and passing them around the class.
‘What makes a man to want to whip a kid like that?’ Felix asked.
Parents at St. Marks Preparatory School in Florida are calling for charges to be brought against a pastor after allegations that he used a belt to whip fourth-grade kids
Although Gray is the pastor of the church associated with the school, he is not supposed to be involved in day-to-day operations of the educational establishment, parents say
Upon withdrawing her daughter from the school, the staff gave her a form for her to sign, indicating that the reasons for withdrawal were ‘academic.’
Felix insisted on writing in ‘child abuse’ in its place.
Corporal punishment is legal in the state, but some parents are demanding criminal charges be brought against the pastor.
Orlando police are now conducting an investigation with both Martin and Felix both interviewed by a detective.
Police were called soon after the lashings. Parents say none of the children were seriously hurt, and no paramedics were called.
DailyMail.com has reached out to the school and pastor for comment.