A principal of a charter school in Louisiana is wanted by authorities for allegedly locking a kindergartener in a closet to punish her.
According to WBRZ, Shafeeq Syid Shamsid-Deen, the principal at Laurel Oaks Charter in Baton Rouge, will be arrested on felony cruelty to a juvenile and misdemeanor false imprisonment charges. The 31-year-old is alleged to have locked a 5-year-old girl inside a “nasty and gross” school closet filled with spiders and roaches.
On August 22, a teacher heard a child crying and screaming. Other teachers began to search and found the girl inside a closet in the school cafeteria. Authorities say the closet had paint, garbage bags, a ladder and what appeared to be a small chair.
The girl told authorities that her principal put her in the closet when she was "bad." If she screamed, he turned off the light in the closet. She described the closet as "nasty and gross," and said that it had spiders and roaches.
The school board released a statement to the news outlet following the allegations, saying that the principal had been suspended. "Laurel Oaks Charter School's Board is aware of this matter and is investigating the facts surrounding this case. Principal, Mr. Shafeeq S. Shamsid-Deen has been suspended for the duration of this investigation," the statement read. "Laurel Oaks Charter School is committed to the safety and well being of all students. Any action that would constitute a crime or result in neglect of a child has never been the policy at Laurel Oaks Charter School and is currently not the policy."
As The Advocate shares, Shamsid-Deen has been in education since after college, joining Teach for America in rural New Mexico. He went on to oversee the development of a new teacher evaluation system in that state.
If convicted or if he pleads no contest, state law requires that the school fire him.
[Photo: Laurel Oaks Charter School, Google Maps]