PIXLEY, Calif. – The mother of a 5-year-old girl says she demands to know why her daughter was left inside a locked, dark classroom alone.
Hilda Salazar says her daughter was being punished for not finishing her holiday project on time.
Salazar says thankfully, she arrived at the school five minutes early to pick up her daughter, Natalia.
The incident took place Tuesday afternoon at Pixley Elementary School, which is about 60 miles south of Fresno.
Members of the Pixley Union School District are not denying it happened, and now an investigation is underway.
Salazar says, "I saw that the door was closed as I was walking up to it. The teacher walks around me and unlocks the door. She opened it, I walked in, and the lights were off. So I turned them on. She was crying. She told me mom, I can't finish my work, I can't see."
Natalia Salazar says, "The lights were off, they locked the door."
Reporter Erik Rosales asks, "Were you scared?"
Natalia Salazar nods her head yes.
Hilda Salazar says she confronted the teacher and asked her why.
Salazar says, "She said 'oh, she didn't finish her work'. She said 'how many times have I told you to hurry up and finish your work. How many times have I told you to hurry up and get your stuff done.' I am like no! Now you are talking to me! You don't do that my daughter, she has anxiety problems and she has asthma."
Administrators with the Pixley Union School District say because it's a confidential personal matter that is still under investigation, they can't talk about it.
However, Assistant Superintendent David Fernandez says, "We want the community to know that we are looking at the hard facts and not perceptions of what occurred. We are advocates for student safety and would never put students in harm's way."
Salazar says she was later called by the school principal, she claims the principal told her, that if the teacher decides to make an apology, it's up to her on whether or not to accept it.
Salazar says she and her daughter deserve a formal apology from the teacher, and she wants the teacher fired.
The school principal did place the girl in another classroom, while the investigation continues.
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