(Memphis) For the first time, we’re hearing from the teacher who’s accused of putting a kindergartener in a closet.
While she talks, SCS isn’t saying a word other than trying to explain that the teacher didn’t lock the door.
If any parent put a child in a closet for hours on end for punishment, they would be arrested.
But kindergarten teacher Kristin Oshfeldt is at home saying accusations she put 5-year-old Akeelah Joseph in the closet are being blown out of proportion and claiming she didn’t do anything wrong.
That’s according to the Memphis Education Association.
“I am understanding now from other sources that it’s not as the public has made it out to be. The child was not out of view of the teacher and that sort of thing, so I guess we’ll all have to wait and see what they come up with,” said MEA President Keith Williams.
The state, police, and the school district are investigating to find out what actually happened.
Williams says according to Oshfeldt’s story, she gives students a choice where they want to spend time out.
Oshfeldt claims the closet isn’t that bad because she can see the children inside.
Five-year-old Akeelah says she was shut up in the closet so long she almost used the restroom on herself.
According to the teacher’s association, Oshfeldt defended the disciplinary method, saying she’s put children in that isolated spot before for punishment, but the principal at A.B. Hill thought it was bad enough to contact the parents and Memphis police once the little girl was found.
Williams says the teachers association will make sure Oshfeldt has a chance to tell her side of the story, as well as a fair shot at justice.
The teachers association claims Oshfeldt’s defense is that she was very sick, and thought her form of punishment was OK.
“She was using a form of isolation that she thought was acceptable to the district and to state standards,” said Williams.
The school district isn’t saying a word about the incident since there is an open investigation, but it does have a discipline policy that bans any form of physical punishment.
Akeelah’s mother says she was supposed to go back to school Tuesday, but she’s been too traumatized and won’t go back until next week.