An elementary school principal from Iowa is being investigated by the sheriff's office and school board for his tradition of delivering "birthday whammies" to students as young as seven with a padded hockey stick (pictured).

70 angry parents waited outside closed doors at Washington Elementary, wondering how Principal Terry Eisenbarth could have been carrying on this disturbing tradition without anyone's knowledge.

"I do not spank my kids at home on their birthdays," said [parent] Steve Wernimont, 44, who has three children. "That is not a celebration. It's being subservient to a dominating figure."

Hoping to quell the growing outrage, Eisenbarth sent a letter to all parents explaining that whammies weren't so much spankings or BDSM-lite as they were a "pat on the backside" — and a Washington Elementary birthday tradition!

He celebrated each child's birthday with an announcement on the school intercom, followed by an invitation to the principal's office.

Eisenbarth gave students pencils and calculators, sang "Happy Birthday" and spanked them once for each year of their lives, the letter said.

Oh, well, is that all? Just a call to your office for some complimentary cake, office supplies, and multiple whackings on the bum with a styrofoam-covered hockey stick? Are you sure there's nothing you want to add? Maybe something involving dripping birthday candle wax or a spirited round of Pin the Loincloth on the Terry?

Okay, then! Nothing out of the ordinary here! Very much your typical school principal mailing. You can read the whole thing at the Register. [DesMoines Register, photo via Register]