Mississippi High School Coach Suspended For Whipping Players

Casey SchermickContributor IIINovember 12, 2010

A high school basketball coach at Murrah High School in Jackson, Mississippi has been suspended and has been sued for allegedly whipping players for several different reasons.

Marlon Dorsey faced a lawsuit filed Tuesday for the actions against the players.

Attorney Lisa Ross filed the lawsuit against Dorsey. Ross claims to have a video taken with a cell phone of a player that shows the teammate bent over as Dorsey whipped him three times with a weight belt that weighed anywhere from five to 10 pounds.  

Ross also says that along with the whipping the boys were physically and verbally abused in other ways as well.

Dorsey has admitted to "paddling" the players. This is what Dorsey had to say in a statement regarding the allegations:

"I took it upon myself to save these young men from the destruction of self and what society has accepted and become silent to the issues our students are facing on a daily basis.  I am deeply remorseful of my actions to help our students."

First off Dorsey openly admitted that he beat the kids and employed corporal punishment on these high school boys.  Second, Dorsey claims that he was helping the students.  

Jason Hubbard Sr., father of one of the players, explained the whipping to be, "very forceful."  Hubbard also went on to say, "It wasn't like a spanking, it was whipping. There's a difference."

Hubbard is completely correct with this statement. Dorsey had an intent to hurt the students in order to teach them a lesson for what they had done wrong. He was not trying to cause temporary pain, but instead wanted to leave a memory with the students in order to prevent them from acting wrongly.

Corporal punishment has been banned in Jackson Public Schools since 1991. The punishment is allowed in some parts of Mississippi but in Jackson schools, the act is punishable by disciplinary action such as suspension without pay and termination.

Dorsey also wrote a letter to the parents and other members of the community and explained that the punishment was used for several different reasons including, but not limited to: disrespecting teachers, stealing cell phones, leaving campus without permission, being late for class, not turning in work and not following the dress code.  

Dorsey also told a local newspaper that he has been temporarily suspended without pay.  

Hailicia Francis, mother of Daniel Francis, a senior at the school, was afraid to open up to anyone about the situation.  

"What hurts me so bad is you have intimidated my child so bad that he couldn't come to either one of us...I entrusted this man with my child, and this is what you do to me," said Francis.

Ironically, some parents in the district have shown support for Dorsey. Gary Love, father of a player on the team said, "He has made them go to study hall, makes them turn in their homework and makes them give weekly reports of their school work. It's been all positive with one bad incident. He made a huge mistake, but he is human."

My question is how can you show support for a man who is permanently having a negative impact on high school students.  

Being a current high school senior myself, I could not imagine my teammates being intimidated this badly by a coach that they are afraid to talk to anyone about it. Do I agree with corporal punishment?  Honestly, yes, to an extent I can see the positives to corporal punishment.

I feel as if in today's society, kids are being raised and taught that people will let them get away with anything.  I feel that corporal punishment has an impact on teaching kids what is right and wrong.  However there is a very, very fine line with corporal punishment that can easily be crossed.  Dorsey in this case has gone way beyond this limit.

Corporal punishment can have some impact on young kids. I remember facing this type of punishment as a kid. I do not remember what effect it had on me at the time because I was a young child.  

High school students should not face corporal punishment. In this case I feel as if it has a negative effect.  

If this punishment was instituted now at my current high school, there would be many students who would fight back with administrators. This would cause many more problems rather than solving the existing ones.  

Dorsey caused many more problems by whipping and verbally abusing these students. He intimidated them so much that they submitted themselves to him and he took full advantage of it. I am honestly surprised that Dorsey has not yet been fired from his job.  

What he does not realize is that it will take a long time and professional help to assist these students who have been abused.

And to Love, yes it was a huge mistake. The kids who made the mistakes are also human. So why should they face the abuse and intimidation that they went through when you are saying that it was OK for Dorsey to make a mistake and get away with it?

I fully expect Dorsey to be convicted in the case and to face a long jail sentence for the abuse of these students. I also hope that this sets an example for other teachers, coaches, and other influential adults to take a different approach to punishment so that this type of behavior can end throughout the country.   


Information from the Associated Press was used in this article.