Charges issued against substitute teacher accused of taping stud - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Charges issued against substitute teacher accused of taping student mouths

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(01/17/14) - Flint Police Chief James Tolbert says 15 charges have been issued against a substitute teacher accused of taping student's mouths shut. 

Tolbert said the city attorney's authorized those charges. He announced them Friday morning.

ABC12 is not naming the substitute teacher because he has not been arraigned yet.

The substitute teacher actually filed a police report first, last month, alleging Brownell STEM Academy's principal taped his mouth.

The principal was not charged. 

Flint City Attorney Pete Bade said there were no witnesses and the allegations made by the substitute teacher weren't credible.

"I'm glad somebody brought it out," said mother Tress Kidd. She said her 7-year-old son was one of the children involved.

"He was just writing angry letters," she said, holding one. Kidd said that's how she found out about what is alleged to have happened - duct tape placed on her son's mouth and more than a dozen other mouths. All of the victims are first graders.

"As a member of the Flint Board of Education, my main concern is the safety of our children," said school board member David Davenport.

Davenport was the one who went public with the allegations mid-December claiming the taping took place toward the first of the month.

"It was held away from the community, the district, for two weeks," he said during a news conference outside of the Flint Police Department Friday afternoon.

Davenport called on Interim Superintendent Larry Watkins Jr. to resign, claiming he failed to notify parents and didn't tell school board members the whole story when he emailed them to make them aware.

Davenport previously provided Watkins' email, which alleged the substitute teacher taped the mouth of a student and that the principal allegedly "...took some tape from a student's hand and aggressively placed it on the mouth of the victim causing laceration to his upper lip." 

That email also stated the substitute teacher has been fired.

Watkins released this statement, through the district's spokesman, by email Friday afternoon:

We will continue to cooperate fully with the local authorities on this case. As a result, our policy is to not comment further on an active criminal case. Any further questions should be directed to the police department and the prosecutor's office.

As a district, our first priority is to provide a nurturing and positive academic environment for our students. When we learned of the classroom incident, we took immediate action to investigate and follow up with those involved. As a result of that investigation, disciplinary action occurred both with the substitute teacher and the building principal.

At the same time, while it is human nature to want to focus on a single incident, we are committed to not allowing one isolated event with a substitute teacher to overshadow the many good things happening within our district.

The teachers and staff members of Flint Community Schools are committed on a daily basis to providing an education of excellence for every child. They serve tirelessly to build positive relationships that challenge our students to reach their potential academically, athletically and in the arts. To these teachers and staff members our community owes a debt of gratitude for their ongoing work.

I also want to express my appreciation to our parents who are committed to being active partners and participants in their child's education. Together, the Flint Community Schools and our parents are working to provide the children of this community with both the life skills and the academic foundation that will allow them to compete in today's global business environment.


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