A lawsuit is targeting a church-run preschool in suburban St. Louis, which allegedly used duct tape to bind the legs of an unruly 4-year old.
The suit claims that Zion Lutheran Learning Center in the St. Louis suburb of Valley Park, Missouri, disciplined but didn’t fire the teacher responsible for the incident.
The child’s parents say that when they told the administrators about what happened, a supervisor had simply laughed and considered the ordeal insignificant.
The leading plaintiff, Laura Day, said she hadn’t realized what happened until days after the event. She’d been giving her daughter a bath when the girl began recounting an unpleasant memory from earlier in the week.
“I have some shiny red duct tape with your name on it,” the teacher had told the girl, according to the complaint.
After binding the girl’s legs together with duct tape, the teacher told her it’d be taken off once she settled down and decided to behave.
ABC News reports that, when the parents called to complain, a preschool supervisor had laughed off the incident, referring to it as “a silly thing.”
However, the supervisor did say the teacher responsible for the unusual punishment had been disciplined.
“We were shocked to learn the director knew about the incident, but had no intentions of informing us of the teacher’s actions,” said the girl’s father, Joseph Day, in a statement. “Even worse, we were dismayed at the [church] board’s inaction and outright refusal to fire the teacher involved.”
An investigation conducted by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services concluded that the allegation about a duct tape binding at Zion Lutheran Learning Center was “substantiated.”
While the state ordered the school to create a ‘corrective action path,’ no specific demands were listed.
ABC News says the lawsuit was filed on June 9th, outlining embarrassment, trauma, and a number of unspecified physical injuries as the main grievances.
The girl’s parents also accuse the church of staging a cover-up, as they hadn’t been informed of the incident and the supervisors on duty that day didn’t report it to the church’s governing board.
Rather than respond to the incident, the suit alleges, the school ‘took the situation one step further, and duct taped all the children’s ankles together and had them ‘play a game’ by hopping down the hallway with their ankles taped together, thus further risking even more students’ safety.’
While the church apparently has a policy of not commenting on ongoing litigation, a woman who picked up the phone at the daycare purportedly told The St. Louis Post Dispatch that one of the center’s teachers used duct tape on a child “as discipline for running around during nap time. The teacher realized the error and immediately removed the tape. This was an inappropriate classroom management response. The teacher was disciplined by the school’s administrator.”