EAST SAINT LOUIS, ILLINOIS — Two workers at a Head Start program were suspended with pay for allegedly forcing four preschoolers to strip naked and stand in a closet as punishment.
According to SIUE Police Chief Kevin Schmoll, when the students would misbehave, a 26-year-old teacher at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, whose name has not been released to the public, would have them disrobe and stand in a dark closet for five or 10 minutes.
Fox 2 Now reports that the teacher would use that strategy to calm the children down.
Schmoll said it isn’t something she was taught, “but it’s obviously in no teaching manual anywhere. It’s inappropriate and against the law to do this.”
The 41-year-old assistant teacher was also suspended because she allegedly knew about the incident and did not report it.
How It All Came To Light
Apparently, the teacher sent the wrong child to the closet as he immediately informed his mother about what happened, and the police were called.
Authorities began an investigation and removed the teacher and her assistant from the classroom of about 20 children.
“We felt that was very inappropriate and possible there’s some criminal action and some charges could come from this,” Schmoll stated.
The Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation Clarify Their Role
After the teacher and her assistant were removed from the classroom, the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation opted to release a statement for clarification purposes.
“The SIUE Head Start Program leases space at the back of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center however the program is run completely independently from the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center programming and Foundation.
“Our staff was in no way involved in this alleged incident and had no knowledge of what happened in this case. As a Foundation that dedicates itself to improving the lives of children, we were deeply saddened to hear this alleged incident occurred and know that appropriate legal actions are being taken.”
The teacher and her assistant have not been criminally charged; however, an investigation is underway.