Okla. principal charged with child abuse for spanking students with paddle

Booking photo of Gary Gunckel (Pittsburg County Jail)

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) - An Oklahoma principal accused of using a wooden paddle to spank two elementary school students has been charged with child abuse and placed on administrative leave.

Pittsburg County court records indicate 50-year-old Gary Gunckel was charged with two counts of child abuse by injury on Friday. A preliminary hearing conference is scheduled Oct. 12.

Gunckel is the principal at Indianola Public Schools.

The McAlester News-Capital reports that Gunckel is accused of "using unreasonable force" Sept. 6 when he paddled the students aged 10 and 11. According to an affidavit, both boys were bruised by the beating.

Indianola Superintendent Adam Newman says Gunckel has been placed on administrative leave.

Gunckel hasn't returned a telephone call seeking comment. Court records don't list an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

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