Mississippi mom says kindergartener hit with ruler, locked in closet

LAKE CORMORANT, Miss. — A concerned mother says her son's kindergarten teacher took discipline too far by smacking him with a ruler.

He goes to Lake Cormorant Elementary, where that type of punishment is allowed, but she says his teacher didn't follow the rules.

The woman, who doesn't want to be identified, says it happened on Wednesday. Her 5-year-old son Liam says he was punished for making a silly face.

He says his teacher smacked him with a ruler and locked him in a closet for 45 minutes with the lights off.

"It made me sick to my stomach because I don't even spank my own child," his mom says.

Liam and some of his classmates say their teacher has being doing this to students all year.

Desoto County Schools' code of discipline says corporal punishment can be used on students for a number of reasons like tardiness, inappropriate gestures or dress code violations. But according to Liam's mom, parents have options that are laid out on a form they fill out every year.

It allegedly allows parents to opt out or set guidelines. In her case, she says the school was supposed to call her first. She also says punishment like that is supposed to be done in the principal's office with a paddle and a witness.

"I got nothing (no notification)," she says.

When we spoke with her this afternoon, she believed that Liam's teacher had been let go because of what happened, but this evening, she told us she believes the teacher may have only been suspended. She also believes the teacher has returned to school.

DCS won't confirm that or specifically comment on the situation, citing district policy.

Liam's mom just wants the rules followed.

"What's sad is, this is these kids' first year in school so they don't know any better. They think this is normal and I just want to hug all the babies and let them know this is not right. You are not supposed to be hit with a ruler and locked in a dark closet," she says.