A 5-year-old boy from Michigan says that two of his teachers threw away his lunch and taped his mouth shut in front of his class.
According to The Miami Herald, Abdul Dannaoui, a preschool student in the Crestwood School District, says that the two teachers did this on numerous occasions and told him not to tell anyone. Abdul’s mother, Houda Dannaoui, found out what had been allegedly happening on March 26. According to her attorney, another teacher walked in and discovered that the boy's mouth had been taped. When his mother went to pick up her child that day, she was told by a supervisor that Abdul had been "taped,” WXYZ reports. Abdul’s family found the way he’d been treated particularly disturbing because he has asthma.
“I’m emotionally heartbroken. Disappointed. That’s his second home. That’s how they treat a child with asthma? I am not afraid, I am going to fight for my kid,” Dannaoui said.
The family’s attorney Nabih Ayad told WXYZ that his clients have filed a police report and will be pursuing legal action against the school district for failing to address the situation adequately. Though one of the teachers involved in the situation has been fired, the other is still employed by the school.
“We feel that it was just a joke amongst these teachers, a laugh for them,” Ayad told WXYZ/CNN. “It’s outrageous. It’s absurd that you think you send your kid to a place or school, where he would be safe.”
Abdul told his parents that it happened as many as 10 times, WXYZ says.
“They’ve been putting tape across the child’s mouth so he can’t open his mouth during lunchtime, in front of the entire class, while the entire class eats their lunch,” Ayad told WWJ Newsradio 950. “He has to sit there and watch them and has his mouth shut with this tape, and they throw away his food.”
This differs from the school district’s version of events. In a statement, superintendent Laurine VanValkenburg confirmed that a part-time substitute teacher’s aide placed a piece of scotch tape on the child's mouth for a "very brief" period of time in March, but said that there have been “no other reports” of similar incidents.
“The Crestwood School District does not approve of or accept this type of behavior,” her statement read. “The district works to ensure that all children are safe and secure in a high-quality setting.”
Abdul’s parents will be transferring him to another school and want the second teacher involved in the situation to be terminated.
“We’re asking for a thorough investigation, not only by the law enforcement authorities but as wall as by the state administration, the body that oversees these teachers,” Ayad said. “And we’re asking for the school superiors to take immediate action to discharge the other teacher that was involved.”
(Photo: Kindergarten lunchroom with small tables and chairs. By ChiccoDodiFC, via Getty Images)