Scott McConnell was earning a 3.78 grade point average at Le Moyne College’s education school; he’d received an “excellent” evaluation for his student teaching at an elementary school. But he was kicked out of the master’s program for a “mismatch” between his “personal beliefs regarding teaching and learning and the Le Moyne College program goals.”  Basically, he wrote a paper advocating corporal punishment as a strategy for classroom management. FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) reports:

The paper received an A- with his professor noting that his ideas were “interesting” and that she had shared the paper with the department chair, Cathy Leogrande.  McConnell ultimately received an A as his final grade in the course.

Yet in January 2005, with no prior warning, Leogrande dismissed McConnell from Le Moyne.  In the dismissal letter, Leogrande . . . wrote, “I have grave concerns regarding the mismatch between your personal beliefs regarding teaching and learning and the Le Moyne College program goals.  Based on this data, I do not believe that you should continue in the Le Moyne [Master of Science for Teachers] Program.”

FIRE wrote a letter to Le Moyne’s president, reminding him of the college’s commitment to academic freedom and open debate. Le Moyne responded with a refusal to discuss the issue.

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  1. Well, we certainly wouldn’t want to corrupt Le Moyne’s teacher indoctrination program with any ideas that might actually produce an orderly classroom with real learning would we?

    The educational establishment seems to be adopting a bunker mentality. Since they can’t produce anything that works, bar any discussion of any idea outside the current orthodoxy.

    It appears that another college has joined the list headed “Under no circumstances.”

  2. Richard Brandshaft says:

    Suppose some college said a graduate student who professed a belief in Marxism is too reality-challenged for their economics program. How many believe FIRE would be equally indignant?

  3. Scott G. Beach says:


    While Scott McConnell was a graduate student at Le Moyne College, he wrote a “Classroom Management Plan” for a course titled “Planning, Assessing, and Managing Inclusive Classrooms.” In that paper, Mr. McConnell wrote, “The only mutual respect and community that I will build with the child is with the parents, not the child.”

    Teachers should try to build “mutual respect” with their students. Mr. McConnell’s declaration that he plans to build no mutual respect between himself and his students is, in my opinion, clearly unacceptable.

    Mr. McConnell has stated that, in accordance with his religion, he believes that violence against students (corporal punishment) should be administered in classrooms. Would you like to be in a classroom where a disciple of Jesus Christ is using a Biblical “rod of correction” to violently strike a child? Do you think that Jesus would approve of that?

    Mr. McConnell ended his Classroom Management Plan with the declaration, “I would run the class like a dictatorship.” Would you like to be in a classroom that is run by a violent dictator who has absolutely no respect for you?

    Given Mr. McConnell’s planned lack of respect for students and his preference for violence, I am not surprised that he was dismissed from the Master of Science for Teachers program at Le Moyne College. The administrators of Le Moyne College probably do not want to provide Mr. McConnell with an academic degree because he might use that degree to (1) obtain a teaching credential, (2) get a teaching job, (3) take command of a classroom, and then (4) begin violently assaulting children. I certainly would not want to do anything that would enable Mr. McConnell to carry out his dictatorial and violent plan.

    The administrators of Le Moyne College decided to protect children from violence; they made the right decision.

  4. Scott G. Beach says:

    Mr. McConnell:

    You recently filed a complaint in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. In your complaint, you alleged that, “Advocates of corporal punishment believe that, when children do not respond to verbal warnings or other restrictions, then a short, sharp stimulus, which inflicts pain but no lasting damage, causes the child to associate misbehavior with punishment – a crucial association in child development.” This allegation is obviously untrue.

    Children are literally beaten bloody in public schools. For example, in 1981 a 17-year-old high school student named Shelly Gaspersohn was beaten so severely that the wounds on her buttocks bled for two days. She subsequently began having nightmares that Glenn Varney, the vice-principal who had beaten her, was chasing her and trying to kill her. She still suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder. A student named James Ingraham was beaten so severely (20 smacks!) that he was hospitalized for 10 days. And 17-year-old Bria Rose was beaten so severely that she bled from her vagina for 23 days. Last year, 18-year-old Jessica Serafin was beaten bloody with a four-foot-long spanking paddle. That paddle, the largest in the world, was wielded by Brett Wilkinson, the principal of the School of Excellence in Education in San Antonio, Texas.

    Mr. McConnell, in some states it is legal for school teachers and other officials to beat children bloody and cause permanent physical and psychological damage. Your “no lasting damage” allegation is pure crap!

  5. scott mcconnell says:

    Mr. Beach,

    I see that you lack any understanding of my situation. Therefore let me try to help you understand, if that is possible. You may never read this, however, if by some chance you do here is my response to you. First of all, spanking a child is completely differnet from beating a child. If you took the time to understand the difference then you might be able to comprehend what was written in my paper. Second, the cases you site of children being beaten till they bleed are old cases. Next time try to find updated information. Third, show me the scientific proof the corporal punishment is bad. Fourth, mutual respect is not mandated between student and teacher. Since you lack understanding of the teacher student relationship, let me explain it to you. The teacher is in charge of the classroom, not the student. It is just that simple. I am surprised you disliked my last line of my paper. You seem like the type that favors communism. I can say that because you stand behind Le Moyne’s decision. It is a sad day when academic freedom is only granted to those who willing drink the kool-aid of liberalism (communism). One last thing, you should check your facts before you start ranting and raving about someone that you do not even know.