Five families suing following alleged mouth taping at Flint sch - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Five families suing following alleged mouth taping at Flint school

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(01/20/14) - Charges were announced Friday and we now know that isn't the only legal trouble for a former substitute teacher accused of taping the mouths of Flint first graders.

A lawsuit has been filed in Genesee County Circuit Court. The families of five students are suing the Flint Community Schools, the Flint Board of Education and the substitute teacher.

"This is outrageous what happened to these children," said attorney Tom Pabst who is representing the families. "They were vulnerable little kids and they end up getting their mouths taped for who knows what reason. I can't fathom there's any legitimate reason. In fact, I know there's not."

Pabst originally filed the lawsuit on behalf of one child and his family, Jan. 10, but has since added four others to it.  All claim the children had their mouths taped by a substitute teacher at Brownell STEM Academy in December.

Pabst claims, in the lawsuit, the school tried to "cover up" the conduct and that the children suffered psychologically and emotionally.

The substitute teacher was first to file a police report alleging the principal taped his mouth.

Flint Board of Education member David Davenport went public with the allegations after an email about them, days later, was sent to school board members by Interim Superintendent Larry Watkins Jr.

Davenport has been critical of how the situation was handled, even calling for Watkins to resign.

"Can you imagine going into a hospital nursery room and seeing babies mouths taped because they're crying too much," Pabst asked. "Going into an elderly home and see our parents with their mouths taped."

The district has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.

Friday, Flint Police Chief James Tolbert announced 15 charges, misdemeanor assault and battery charges, had been issued against the substitute teacher. At last check, he had not yet been arraigned and his name was not released.

The principal was not charged.

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