DECLO, Idaho -- An investigation is underway in Cassia County into how some students were allowed to punish others by drawing on their faces with markers under teacher supervision.

Superintendent Gaylen Smyer says the investigation stems from an incident on November 5th and involves a fourth grade class at Declo Elementary.

Smyer says the class decided on an accelerated reading program, and a punishment for those who didn't reach the program's goal. He says students who didn't reach that goal could choose one of two options: skip recess, or have other students draw on their faces with markers.

Smyer tells us nine students failed to meet the goal, and six chose to have their faces drawn on with markers. He says the activity happened under the supervision of their teacher, and the students were not allowed to wash their faces during the school day.

Smyer says he became aware of the situation two days after it happened.

It's concerning, Smyer told KTVB. Those students were not allowed to wash their faces, and it set them apart for the entire day, and I can imagine that some of the other kids made fun of them.

Smyer said he was in disbelief when he first heard the news, and began investigating the situation.

In effect, the students were punished for their achievement, and we just can't condone that, Smyer said.

Smyer could not comment on whether any disciplinary action had been taken against the teacher involved. He did say, however, that the teacher is still in the classroom.

The Declo superintendent went on to explain that the idea originated from a similar school-wide reading competition where a staff member and student were allowed to paint the school principal's face and dye her hair after the students reached their reading goal.

Smyer says this particular case has drawn lots of opinions in the area. There are some in support of the teacher, then obviously, like any issue, there are some who are outraged, Smyer said.

KTVB News Channel 7 has a crew in Cassia County getting reaction to the incident. Hear the community's response coming up tonight on the News at 6.

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