Teacher Accused Of Leaving Student In Closet Suspended

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(Memphis) The Shelby County School district is speaking out for the first time about accusations that a teacher locked a 5-year-old in a closet for over an hour.

The kindergartener was found only after the teacher went home and a sub came in.

A.B. Hill Kindergarten teacher Kristin Oshfeldt is suspended with pay while the Shelby County School district investigates some pretty horrifying accusations against her.

Five-year-old Akeelah Joseph says Oshfeldt locked her in a dark classroom closet at A.B. Hill Elementary.

“I almost peed on myself because I couldn't make it to the bathroom,” said Joseph.

Akeelah's mother says she was found in that closet by a substitute teacher after Oshfeldt went home sick.

Students say this wasn't the first time something like this has happened.

Branelle McGaughy's kindergarten son is one of them.

“You shouldn't have to worry about this. You send your kids to school to learn. Not to be put in closets and hit over the head with rulers and stuff like that,” said McGaughy.

The school district's website shows as of two years ago Oshfeldt was a school leader over student discipline.

WREG asked SCS about the incident and it would only say the actions Oshfeldt are accused of are not a part of its discipline policy.

The district's policy actually bans physical punishment of any kind, and that includes locking someone in a closet.

Not only is SCS investigating the accusations, but so are Memphis police and the Department of Children's Services.

Akeelah's mother Wanda isn't waiting for that investigation to wrap up.

She wants answers now, claiming her daughter was terrified and freezing in that closet, and now she wants the teacher fired.

“You don't do a child like that. If you're going to punish a child you tell them to stop and behave or you're going to write them up and send them to office. You don't put a child in a closet period,” said Wanda Joseph.

News Channel 3 spoke with other parents who claim A.B. Hill is a good school and the actions of one person shouldn't cast a negative shadow over everyone.


    • upaces88

      Suspend? Fired? She should be prosecuted for Child Abuse and never allowed to work around children EVER AGAIN!!

    • Joeknows

      And now a word from the child’s father….Crickets….

      Now if the child’s mama was to win a lawsuit and compensation…..Baby’s Daddy would be up there in
      a minute…wantin his ” fair ” share. Know what Im sayen?

  • Nonya Bidness

    No! This teacher needs to be prosecuted.

    None of this should come as a surprise. Memphis is the dregs and therefore can only get the worst of the worst to teach for them. The reason you accept a teaching position with MCS is because you can’t get a job anywhere else.

    Now that the suburban cities are forming their own school districts They will take the cream of the crop and SCS/MCS will only get worse.

    I wonder how abandoning the school charter is working out for Memphis? Worse schools, less money, and the dregs of the teaching pool.


    • Joe Mulbay

      I’d like to say something.
      First, I do not agree with what the teacher did. That is obviously wrong. However, please do not place all school teachers in the district into one boat. I currently work for the school system as a teacher. I have worked in different parts of the city for the last eight years; my first six at one school and my last two at my second.
      I have one degree in Education, I have a second in Mathematics, and I am currently working on my Masters of Special Education. I wanted to let you know that I chose to come to MCS, before it was the Unified School District, to help children who needed it. I had the option of taking a position at my suburban, nice, small town, district in which I gew up, and did not take it.
      The city does not get what you call the “worst of the worst”, the city has a massive amount of teacher turnover. Now, there are several reasons for that; someone might not like teaching, someone might be Teach For America (the organization that only requires X years of service to pay of Y amount of loans), or someone might be on an alternative certificate coming from a business, mechanics, or _______ world.
      One cannot also state that the suburbs will be gaining/losing teachers when we were/are able to take a voluntary trasnfer or not. According to some peoples’ logic, I would have taken a “better position” at a suburban school. I, however, have chosen to stay in the MCS realm of school system.
      I love where I teach. I love my kids. I would not trade any of my experiences for anything someone wants to offer me.

      • MikeBarret

        Thank you, for what you do. You know, every time someone is in the military people say “thank you for your service” well we ought to treat our teachers the same way. By saying thank you!

      • Nonya Bidness

        Thank you for turning out illiterates in the third worst school system in the nation. It makes my child’s chance for attending a good college and getting a good job that much better.

        You contribute to a school system where children can’t fail no matter how bad they do. The fact that you uphold that system by your presence speaks volumes about you. You have no principals otherwise you would seek employment where children can achieve greatness, not be forced into mediocrity.

        Get real, your speech was nice, but we see right through it.

      • upaces88

        There ARE good teachers. I am glad you are one of the good guys!

        However, somehow, the bad ones NEED TO BE WEEDED OUT. I have seen far too many who should NEVER have become teachers at all!

      • PC

        You have a tuff job and god bless you for doing it. Please ignore the comments of the ignorant. Nonya is apparently mentally challenged or on another crack binge. She also bashes the cops, firefighters and would probably bash the military if the opportunity arose. I guess she didn’t get enough attention as a child.

      • Don

        Okay Joe You are one of few. I’m a little curious, You didn’t mention who you are being paid. Is it MCS or SCS?

    • Don

      This is America and you don’t have to send your child to a MCS/SCS

      Nonya, there is no such animal as MCS. If you remember MCS decided to give up their charter so when the SCS was forced to take the cities dumbed down students, The conspiracy that was in the making for the Memphis people to take over SCS so they could run the SCS was blown out when, like you say, The suburbs decided to have their own school system. It turned out that the suburbs are smart enough because they were schooled by SCS. They hired their own people so Memphis has no say.
      It just won’t be long that while the city of Memphis will continue to shrink on population and the towns will strive because of people are looking for places that they can have a decent place to raise a family.

    • Nonya Bidness

      Of course you are willing to put your name out there, you are little people and no one cares about you. Some of don’t have the luxury of being little people.

      • its me

        oh but you obviously do the way you attack individuals and trust.. you child is no better than others!!!! With those words, be careful you may set you child up for failure and be the main one content with working at dollar general or less

    • GetReal

      You go ahead and use your real name and all those degrees still won’t give you any common sense. In less than sixty seconds someone can find every thing about you and your wife. 2012 was a good/bad year for you, wouldn’t you say.?

  • mee

    If you would stop laughing for a second and think about how the children will be affected, you should see that the circumstances are not funny at all. A good person would NOT want to see any child suffer in any way…. be it abuse or a low quality education. But hey… whatever entertains you.

    • Nonya Bidness

      I am laughing at the city of Memphis. They thought that by surrendering their school charter that they could include the better performing county schools and bring up the overall performance of the school system. They knew they would have enough votes to run the new school system any way they wanted. What they didn’t think would happen is that the suburban cities would form their own school systems. They tried everything in the book to stop the cities from running out, even calling it racist!

      It kind of backfired on them. They lost the additional funding that was part of the MCS charter from the city and still didn’t get control of the suburban schools.

      What is happening to the children that have to attend those schools is not laughable. But let’s be pragmatic, for every child that attends this terrible school system the chances are better for the ones that don’t. This is America and you don’t have to send your child to a MCS/SCS school, you can vote with your feet and move to a better school system. And if you make a weak excuse why you can’t move then we see what your priorities are.

    • Nonya Bidness

      She should be paid. What that mor on did to her child is a crime and the school system need to be sent the very clear message that “you are responsible for the actions of your employees when you make it impossible for parents to monitor their child’s safety!”

  • kay

    I do not agree with what the teacher did but she must have just snapped/lost it, wow, this probably will cause her to get fired. not good.

  • starup

    Wow I can’t believe these comments on here really if u are not a teacher in there field then u shouldn’t speak because u sound stupid. Even with this school system its still your choice to get something out of these schools. It’s your choice of what u want to do with your life. No matter how the system is ran if you have a wonderful teacher or a wonderful school believe they will do what ever it take to get there kids right and ready and what that teacher did was just wrong.

  • Lasharon

    Thank you Joe asa graduate of MCS I am proud of my acomplishmints. I owe it to all of are teachers for makin me whos I am today Shake off them haters brother. MCS is just as good as the out of town schools.

  • Tracy

    The racist comments on here shouldn’t shock me but they do. This is a child. What does her name have to do with anything? Would it better if her name was Brittany or Taylor? You people are sick and nothing good will come from spewing hateful and nasty thoughts.

    • Ms.Jones

      Exactly. As I stated in an earlier post, because this child does not bear a European name, she is therefore destined for a life of poverty, crime, and hopelessness. Her name has an actual meaning, with origins in the Arabic and African realm. How sad that there are those in this city that will hold someone back because of their moniker. Yet, they want to live in a city without prejudice. They want to live in a city that is progressive. Get real. The problem starts with a few whom have commented.

    • Don

      Tracy, I have read most of the posts and I’ve found yours is the only one I noticed to mention race. Why is that? Oh, MCS student huh?

  • Ms.Jones

    Pardon Mr. Barret, the name Akeelah does have specific origins. The name Akeelah is Swahili for “Wise”. Please do not assume that because this child does not have a name of European origin, it must be some made up, “ghetto” moniker.

    Please educate yourself. One less idiot in Memphis can made a huge difference.

  • Sean

    @Nonya, your children will end up addicted to Meth. How dumb was my last statement? My statement was baseless, biased, and benighted.
    That is how you sound when you lash out and post comments about people you don’t know. How can you attack a person that chooses to teach in the inner city? A person that obviously wants to help those who are overlooked and judged by their situation. If a child has a choice of where they could live I’m sure none of them will choose poverty.

    @Don and the rest of you that commented on the child’s name, it is funny to hear you trailer people talk about names, until they are the star Running Back on your favorite college football team. ( A school you never attended)

  • Grandma

    Several years ago, at Hernando Hills Elementary there was a teacher who took blue tape and made a square and placed my grandson’s desk in it because he was ADHD. He was ostracized. He couldn’t work on group projects with the other kids. He was confined to the blue box. The principal defended her..we ended up taking him out of the school.

  • David

    I remember when I was put into the cloak room when I behaved badly in class. That’s just the way it was back in the late 60’s. I was bad, and I was disciplined.

    Times have REALLY changed, unfortunately. It’s a shame that discipline has morphed into tortured punishment.

  • Lequesha Alexander

    I think that they should take her to jail…Because they need to make an example for all teachers. because achers are dealing with kids all day ..I feel that every parent would agree that it will have them scared to take they children to school or daycare. Just to know that the school board just agreed with firing her….what if she would have die just stuck in the closet and no one knew..Just think if it was your child what would you want them to do…

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