Teacher Accused Of Leaving 5-Year-Old In Closet Shares Her Story

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(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.


  • Nonya Bidness

    They say this ….

    “The teachers association claims Oshfeldt’s defense is that she was very sick, and thought her form of punishment was OK.”

    Then we go back to this statement …

    “According to the teacher’s association, Oshfeldt defended the disciplinary method, saying she’s put children in that isolated spot before for punishment …”

    Was she sick each and every time she imprisoned a child in that cell?

    This is going to cost Shelby county residents a ton of cash!

    • Don

      I agree pretty much about go along with you.
      The teacher stated that she could see the child.
      Oshfeldt claims the closet isn’t that bad because she can see the children inside. This makes me think she was in the closet with the child or the door was left standing open, or the closet was glassed in.
      I would like to see the police officers check and verify her statement. If she is telling the truth she should be re-instated with pay, If not, she should be blacked balled as a teacher and should be prosecuted and spend some time in the pokey.

  • travis phipps

    I don’t see that this Teacher did anything wrong. Sounds to me like a mother who is not very good at disciplining her child. She wants to sue, and some B.S lawyer will get her some money. TEACHERS are not your personal babysitters, yet you abuse them as if they were. Silly ignorant parents.

    • Francile

      This teacher was WRONG and no one is addressing the fact that she went home and just left the child in the closet. Unless that school approved this type of punishment and the parent signed off on it the teacher needs to be fired.

  • PAM


  • Don

    In this case the child was black. and a crime was committed, It doesn’t matter what race they are. She locked a 5 year old child up.
    Why did she not send her to the principal for them to handle it? Then go home if you are sick.
    If you can’t do your job, why don’t you resign?
    You are not working for Memphis City Schools now. You should have read the County school rules.

  • Linda

    It don’t matter about RACE we are all human. This poor child needs to see justice. They better hope nothing happends like that to any of my grandchildren. It would read Grandparent in Jail and Teacher in the hospital.

  • Jing Yagunazie

    well if it was 1968. The kid would had their hands smacked by a ruler. The kid would listen after that. Now a days. We need to raise the most undereducated kids in the world. Using a ruler is way beyond the part of having kids disciplined in the way to create a dysfunctional system.

  • Gabriela

    If the school was on fire, we would not know the true, but the headline may read; Child found dead in a school closet. I agreed on discipline a child as long as their safety is not compromised. Now imagine this was your child, who experience the same situation, locked in a closet and unattended. As parents we will be upset as well, because your child was left there and no one knew about it. Thanks to God this child is alive.

  • Jason

    Get ready for the lawsuit….” My baby caint sleep at nite….she aint eaten nuthen…When does I get my check?”

  • polo solo6

    Who’s mammy was the Rebekah Jean? Jason? Carl black a z z Knight? Nonya Business need to get some business? Joe C. Keep her ugly face hidden? Jim D?travis phipps perhaps your parent? Midtown Mike?

  • bjguy

    Not out of view of the teacher then how did she forget her leavee her in there and go home and no one other than the other students knew she was still in there she was wrong from the start theres no explanation but to say Im wrong!!!!

  • Concerned

    @Travis…The mother did not call the police! The principal did! You racist, insensitive, uncaring, uncouth individuals are always lashing out haphazardly. READ THOROUGHLY BEFORE RESPONDING! You are so eager to insult, hurt, humiliate and verbally abuse one culture that you don’t even take into consideration if what you are saying is correct. An investigation is ongoing in this matter. “IF” the teacher could see the child from where she usually sits or stands…WHY did it take the substiture teacher so long to find out that the child was in the room? Did the teacher inform anyone before she left that the student was in time-out? Obviously, the ball was dropped or else this wouldn’t have happened. The mother did not say she was suing or had intentions to sue. She just expressed that she was upset that her child was left unattended for so long. Had not the principal informed her, she wouldn’t have known until her child got home from school. BTW, so what if she intends to sue. It’s her right! This has nothing to do with if the mother is a good mother or now. This has to do about a child being kept safe while at school; which is the school’s responsibility!

  • The truth hurts

    To Concerned, You and I both know that the baby’s mama is looking for a check. Her child is fine but the mother wants reparations.

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