ST. LOUIS – A 4-year-old girl who refused to settle down on her cot during preschool nap time was bound with duct tape at a church-run center in suburban St. Louis, according to a lawsuit filed by the girl's parents.
The lawsuit against Zion Lutheran Learning Center in Valley Park, Missouri, alleges the school disciplined but didn't fire the teacher who allegedly taped the child's legs together, and that a supervisor laughed off the incident. The suit seeks unspecified damages in excess of $25,000.
The church said an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday that it doesn't comment on pending litigation.
The suit alleges Laura Day was giving her daughter a bath at their home in March when the child began talking about what happened at school a few days earlier. The girl said a teacher told her, "I have some shiny red duct tape with your name on it," according to the lawsuit. The girl said the teacher used the tape to tie her legs together, and that another teacher told her the tape would be removed once she "behaved."
When her parents complained, a preschool supervisor laughed off the incident as a "silly thing" and said the teacher was disciplined.
"We were shocked to learn the director knew about the incident, but had no intentions of informing us of the teacher's actions," the girl's father, Joseph Day, said in a statement released Tuesday. "Even worse, we were dismayed at the (church) board's inaction and out-right refusal to fire the teacher involved."
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services investigated and ruled the allegation that the child was bound with duct tape was "substantiated." The state required the school to develop a "corrective action plan," though no specific demands were outlined.
The child now attends another daycare center.
The lawsuit, filed on June 9, said the child was embarrassed, traumatized and had unspecified "physical injuries." In addition to the preschool, the suit names the church, the teacher and some of the teacher's supervisors.