DeKalb investigating after mom claims 10-year-old stood outside in cold rain as punishment

The DeKalb County School District is looking into claims that a 10-year-old boy was instructed to stand outside in the cold and rain as punishment.

Tara Gilmore said in an interview with Channel 2 Action News that her son, Joe Austin, came home from Henderson Mill Elementary on Monday with his clothes soaked. He told his mother he had to stand outside the school gym for more than 30 minutes after he spun around on the floor during gym class, and his coach told him to get up.

“I asked where should I stand,” Austin told the news station. “He said, ‘Right on the wall.’” 

Joe Austin, 10, told Channel 2 Action News he pulled his hand up inside his T-shirt to stay warm. (Photo: Channel 2 Action News)

Metro Atlanta got several inches of heavy rain Monday, and temperatures reached an average of 46 degrees. Austin told Channel 2 he pulled his hands into his shirt to keep warm while everyone saw him get “soaked.”

“I shouldn't be out in the cold with only a T-shirt with short sleeves,” he said.  

His mother thinks the school district should acknowledge that the discipline practices of the coach, who has not been identified, are inappropriate.

“I think best case, he would do the right thing and turn in his resignation,” Gilmore said.

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The district is investigating the incident as a personnel matter, and a spokesman told Channel 2 that “appropriate action will be taken based on the findings of the investigation.”

“The DeKalb County School District's highest priority is the health and safety of our students,” the spokesman said in a statement. “Furthermore, our staff is always ... expected to abide by certain standards of conduct.”

The district could not provide any more details about what happened and would not offer further comment.

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