Lawsuit alleges physical abuse at taekwondo center with pre-K | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lawsuit alleges physical abuse at taekwondo center with pre-K

Posted By on Sat, Jul 11, 2015 at 12:03 PM


The mother of a four-year-old boy has filed a lawsuit alleging the boy was physically abused last year by corporal punishment at Anderson's Taekwondo Center in Little Rock. Channel 4 reports.

The suit says the boy was paddled until his buttocks were raw for unsatisfactory work in the center's pre-K program, which is state supported. The lawsuit says he was beaten for being reprimanded for sticking his tongue out at another student.

The lawsuit alleges the center tried to mollify the mother after she complained about the abuse to police because they allegedly feared they'd lose their state contract and association with the American Taekwondo Association if it became public that  they used corporal punishment. She quoted a note from the center: "…everyone know we spank…"

The allegation said a criminal investigation finally commenced and state investigators found the center had violated state law prohibiting use of physical punishment and the police charged the former center employee, Bobby Sykes, with battery.

It's a gruesome tale and it again raises questions about the sufficiency of the state child welfare system adequately supervises programs that receive early childhood money. We'll be looking at that further next week.

The American Taekwondo Association, holding its annual tournament in Little Rock, issued a statement after the news broke Friday:

"ATA International, Inc., takes this allegation very seriously and does not condone any form of corporal punishment as part of the ATA curriculum. After being made aware of the allegation late this afternoon, ATA took swift and decisive action to suspend the licensee Mr. Anderson from any further participation with ATA. ATA holds all of its worldwide licensees to the highest of standards and has a zero tolerance policy for this type of behavior."

Here's the lawsuit.

Sykes was arrested June 1 and posted bond last week, Channel 11 says.

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