The girls basketball coach at White County Central High School, who has resigned and been suspended for the rest of the school year, was arrested earlier this week on a warrant for a misdemeanor battery charge related to a complaint last September about him “paddling” a student.
Jeremy Lee Cude, 46, of Judsonia was booked into the White County Detention Center on Monday and was released on bail a couple of hours later. He is set to appear in White County District Court-Searcy Division on July 20 for plea and arraignment. The official charge is third-degree battery, a class A misdemeanor.
Cude tendered his resignation from the White County School District in March, according to Superintendent Pharis Smith, and has “been suspended with pay for the remainder of the year pending the investigation and has no duties any longer on campus.” The White County Central School District approved the hiring of Riverview High School girls basketball coach Brandi Goforth to replace Cude at its May meeting.
Smith said Cude’s suspension started Friday, May 19, the day after the warrant was issued. The school year officially ends June 30. Smith said because it is a personnel matter, he could not comment further. Cude has coached at the school for four seasons. His team was 11-19 this year, finishing last in the 2A Region 2 Conference.
The complaint against Cude was made to the White County Sheriff’s Office last Sept. 6. The parent of a male juvenile said that her son “got a paddling” Sept. 2 from Cude, according to the incident reported obtained through an Arkansas Freedom of Information Act request.
The parent reportedly said she was contacted by Cude, who informed her that her son had thrown a ball and hit another juvenile in the head which resulted in the kid’s glasses being knocked off and breaking. The parent reportedly Cude to paddle her son for the actions that she was told he had done.
The parent in the incident report stated that “she did not think much more of it until later into the weekend when her juvenile son told her that his bottom was hurting and it was hard for him to sit down.” She reportedly said “she noticed major bruising and swelling to his buttocks,” and took him to the doctor’s office to have him checked.
She also reportedly said she was told by her son that “she did not get the whole story from the school about what happened.” Her son reportedly told her that the incident was preceded by the other juvenile throwing a water bottle and hitting him in the side of the head with it. She reportedly said she was not told that by the school “or she would not have allowed the school to discipline her son.”
She asked the sheriff’s office to document the incident and investigate it. She also reportedly said “she would be taking photographs and the doctor’s report to the prosecuting attorney’s office for prosecution.”
Deputy Shannon Coffman wrote in the incident report that she “was unable to locate any additional information on the listed suspect at the time of the report, and White County Central School Resource Officer John Long “was notified of this incident.”
An investigative narrative by Detective Paul McIntosh on the incident report was masked.
The White County Central student handbook for 2022-23 says that "the White County School Board authorizes the use of corporal punishment to be administered in accordance with this policy by the superintendent or the superintendent’s designated staff members who are required to have a state-issued license as a condition of their employment.
"Prior to the administration of corporal punishment, the student receiving the corporal punishment shall be given an explanation of the reasons for the punishment and be given an opportunity to refute the charges.
"All corporal punishment shall be administered privately, i.e. out of the sight and hearing of other students, shall not be excessive, or administered with malice, and shall be administered in the presence of another school administrator or designee who shall be a licensed staff member employed by the district."
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