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Suit: Boy Forced to Wear Wig, Bra in Bizarre School Punishment

May 24, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) _ A schoolboy was forced to wear a woman’s wig, bra and skirt as punishment for talking in class while his teacher looked on and laughed, according to a $22.5 million lawsuit.

Teacher Pauline Williamson’s punishment left seventh-grader Caleb Guerrier with psychological damage and other personal injuries, the lawsuit charged.

``They were laughing at me, the whole class,″ the 13-year-old boy said in a telephone interview. Williamson ``was making jokes and teaching the class. ... When I was crying, she said, `What’s that dog sound?‴

The cross-dressing punishment was known among students as ``the box,″ because that’s where the women’s clothing, high-heeled shoes and wig were kept in Williamson’s classroom at the Excelsior Seventh Day Adventist School, said the boy’s attorney, Sanford Rubenstein.

Girls were not subject to the punishment.

While students actually forced Guerrier into the clothing, Williamson directed the April 24 assault, according to the suit filed Friday.

Clement Murray, a spokesman for the Northeast Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, said the veteran teacher had been suspended from classroom duties, with pay, while the school conducts an investigation.

He would not comment on specifics of the suit, but added that such punishment ``is not in keeping with what we teach or what we espouse.″

The suit filed against the school seeks $22.5 million for the alleged assault, negligence by the school and punitive damages, which are intended to compensate the boy, who has since transferred to a public school in Brooklyn.

The Seventh Day Adventists run about 1,300 schools in the country, including about 20 in New York City.

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