Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Embattled Principal Denies Racial Slurs, Defends Handcuffing

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Embattled Principal Denies Racial Slurs, Defends Handcuffing

Article excerpt

Blow Middle School Principal Larry Pulos says 16 students were handcuffed this year - and every case was justified.

But Pulos says he can't recall ordering the handcuffing. He said some was done by guards and some by police.

Teachers complained that at least six children were handcuffed, prompting an investigation.

Pulos contends it was his aggressive management style that irritated some teachers and caused them to complain also that he used racial slurs against students and refused to allow children to use the restroom during the final hour of the day.

St. Louis Public School officials removed Pulos from working with children this week while both the officials and the Division of Family Services investigate the handcuffings and statements by teachers.

Last week at Blow, city school officials told Pulos not to talk to a reporter. Wednesday, in an interview at a fast-food restaurant, Pulos said, "It's time my side of the story should be heard."

Pulos said he felt that he had improved discipline and attendance problems at Blow, at 515 Loughborough Avenue.

Pulos says people "make a mental jump" when they hear about children being handcuffed at Blow and the fact that he has worked at two prisons in Missouri. Pulos said he worked from 1981 through 1984 as a director of education programs at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific and then at the Chillicothe Correctional Center in Chillicothe, Mo.

Pulos said he never handcuffed prisoners. "I have never handcuffed anyone in my life," he In one instance, Pulos said, he held a student down while a guard handcuffed the youth. He said all the incidents were justified to protect the children or others.

Teachers at Blow say the children who were handcuffed were involved in fights or infractions that did not require handcuffing.

As for allegations that he refused use of the school's toilets to children, Pulos said he told teachers in September not to issue hall passes during the last hour of school unless it was an emergency. …

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