Mother outraged, daughter scared after she's put in school closet for punishment
Published Thursday, April 4, 2019 8:38AM EDT
A five-year-old girl says she’s afraid to return to her school in Toronto after a lunchroom supervisor allegedly put her in a closet for misbehaving.
Le’Anna Felix’s daughter De’Anna admits that she was acting out during the lunch hour at her west-end Toronto school.
“I wasn’t behaving at school,” the student of Essex Junior and Senior Public School told CTV Toronto on Wednesday. “I was kicking the tables and pushing them because I wanted my pizza to heat up and he [the lunchroom supervisor] said ‘One more time and I’m going in the closet’ and he ended up putting me in there.”
Felix believes her daughter was trying to get the staff member’s attention, but felt ignored.
“It’s pretty disturbing to me,” she said. “I am losing sleep over it because now she knows that ‘If I go to school and misbehave, will they lock me in the closet again?’”
Felix says the principal of her daughter’s school called her to tell her about the incident on Monday, even though it allegedly occurred two weeks ago.
“I was devastated,” she recalled. “I couldn’t believe, first of all, I got that phone call and why didn’t the school call me if they couldn’t control her? I’m just across the street.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) said students informed administrators at Essex Junior and Senior Public School about the incident on March 28.
“It was reported that a five-year old student was told by a lunchroom supervisor to stay inside an unlocked storage room off of a classroom as a form of discipline,” the statement read. “Staff immediately began to investigate and have notified Toronto police as per our procedures.”
The school board spokesperson also said the storage room, which was attached to a classroom, measured 3.5 metres by 2 metres and held toys.
Felix questioned why school staff didn’t just send her daughter to the office instead.
Toronto police confirmed they opened an investigation into the allegations, but they haven’t had a chance to speak with De’Anna or any other witnesses yet.
The TDSB spokesperson said the lunchroom supervisor has been put on home assignment pending the investigation.
“While we continue to investigate, the reported incident is very troubling and something that would be completely unacceptable,”
De’Anna said she doesn’t want to go back to school because she’s scared the lunchroom supervisor will put her back in the closet where she said she felt “alone.” Her mother said she’s debating transferring her daughter to another school.
“She doesn’t feel safe and I as her mom don’t feel safe sending her back,” Felix said.