A first grade teacher who allegedly put duct tape on her students' mouths all day was suspended and is no longer employed by her former North Texas school district, officials said.
"As soon as the incident was brought to administration's attention, she was placed on administrative leave in order for us to do the investigation into the allegations and as of this morning, she is no longer employed with the district," Ashley Thomas, communications officer for Wichita Falls Independent School District, said Monday.
After parents filed police reports, juvenile detectives and Child Protective Services began investigating the incident at Zundy Elementary School to determine what, if any, criminal charges may be warranted.
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School counselors gave all 22 students in the class a questionnaire with a series of 10 questions. In the questionnaire, students said they were told it was a game and that the duct tape was put on so they would be good.
"According to our children, they've told us that she said it was for fun and that they shouldn't tell their mom and dad because she didn't want to get fired," said Tamilyn Love, a parent of one of the students. "I've asked her what happened if they went to the bathroom, something like that. She said they took the tape off, put it on their desk, and when they returned it was put back on. So obviously she knew it was wrong, otherwise she would have let them be in the hallway like that."
While authorities handle the investigation, extra counseling is being made available to students who may need it. Love said her daughter is having problems.
"We decided to put her into counseling. Saturday night she woke up and told me that she had a bad dream, that she was choking and couldn't breathe because she had duct tape over her mouth," Love said.
Love said she's relieved to hear the teacher is no longer employed. However, Love said she has contacted an attorney and plans to file a lawsuit because of the impact on her daughter.
"It's a disturbing incident and it is no way indicative of the behavior that we expect out of teachers in our district. So we want students to know that they can feel safe at school that this is not something that they should fear happening again," Thomas said.