Students burned after being forced to do "bear crawls" on hot turf

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An Ellis County mother says an in-school punishment that burned her daughter’s hands went too far. Now she wants something done to the middle school coach who was behind it.

Alma Gallegos’ 11-year-old daughter and several other students were late to their sixth period P.E. class at Red Oak Middle School Friday afternoon. So the coach punished them.

“I get angry all over again, all over again. It’s an anger that just doesn’t go away,” Gallegos said.

The girls were forced to do “bear crawls” for being late.

“She would make us bend down like that and walk with our hands like this,” Gallegos’ daughter said.

The students put their bare hands on the hot turf around the football field. They went from the end zone to the field goal and back about six times.

By the end, all seven girls were in pain with red blistery hands.

“I tried to tell her that I burned my hands but she just told me to go back in line and do them again,” the 11-year-old said.

Gallegos said she agrees her daughter should have been punished, but doesn’t think she didn’t deserve a trip to the emergency room.

“Run an extra lap, run an extra two laps,” she said. “Why would you put them on turf? You get on the turf and you let me know how it feels.”

Red Oak ISD said it is investigating the incident, which it learned about late Friday afternoon. A spokesman said the administration called each student’s parents immediately.

Gallegos said it was the principal who realized exactly what the girls went through.

“He got on the turf as well and he realized it was really hot,” she said.

After a trip to the ER and a lot of ointment, the 11-year-old’s blisters are getting better. But Gallegos said the situation hasn’t because of the coach.

“I’ve gotten apologies from everyone else but her and an explanation as to why she did it,” she said. “Some people may say, ‘Oh this generation, they’re crybabies.’ It’s not cry baby. It’s just that this isn’t the military. This is school.”