MEMPHIS, Tenn. — What happened to a sixth grader at West Collierville Middle School has his parents upset and considering a lawsuit.
The teacher said the student was talking too much but what she did has some saying she crossed the line.
“It shouldn’t have been done. It should have been handled a different way,” one of the child’s parent said.
That’s how this Collierville family feels after what happened to their sixth grade son at West Collierville Middle on March 30.
They asked us not to reveal their identity, but they had plenty to say about the embarrassment their son faced after his teacher’s actions.
The 12 year old said he was asking another student about an assignment that was handed out in his regular afternoon class, when the teacher noticed.
“She looked at me and she got tape out of her desk and put it over my mouth because I talked,” the student said. “And she told me if I take it off she was gonna get me.”
He said the teacher grabbed a roll of tape and taped his mouth shut. The 6th grader said he just sat there, while other students looked on.
“I was embarrassed,” the student said.
He didn’t tell his parents or anyone else. But some other students did go to the principal with the shocking news. The principal called his parents.
“He basically just stated that he was sorry for what happened and then he didn’t condone it,” the student’s mother said.
But this mom said it wasn’t until she questioned her son that she found out just how the teacher taped his mouth shut.
“He said it was clear tape and it was two pieces and she marked it with an X and I knew what type of tape it was,” she said.
She said it was taped like an X. The 12 year old said the teacher then dared him to remove it.
“Dared him to take it off…I was really kinda hurt. I was hurt on that,” his father said. “I am not angry with the teacher, it’s just she threatened him to take it off.”
The parents fear their son, who has ADHD, will now be the subject of ridicule.
“I feel bad with him going back up there everyday. Looking at maybe transferring him into another school,” his father said.
WREG reached out to the school system. They sent a statement saying they did investigate and found the teacher did violate policy that calls for staff to develop wholesome relationships with students and maintain professionalism at all times.
“That is some type of abuse. No teacher should do that,” the student’s father said.
WREG obtained the teacher’s personnel file which included a letter of reprimand for the incident.
In the letter, the teacher said taping the student’s mouth was “all in fun” and “it was a joke”, saying “he didn’t talk again the rest of the class” and “got his work done.”
The school system said appropriate corrective action had been taken and both the district and the parents consider the matter to be closed.
But these parents say not so fast.
“She didn’t apologize, even the next day. She had a whole week to apologize for what she did and she didn’t do it,” his father said. “They’re trying to sweep it under the rug as far as what she did and for us not to take it any further.”
But they plan to take things further.
“The only thing they did was just move him out of her room. Who is to say she’s not going to do another child,” his mother said.
The family said they plan to move forward with finding a lawyer.