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Never has a time−out been so... ugly.
A four−year−old girl was allegedly locked in a bathroom as punishment for acting out at a local Headstart day care center recently −− a move so callous and surprising, her mother says, that it left the child with emotional scars.
Weeks after the April 1 incident, the girl remained traumatized and would rather “urinate on herself then go to the bathroom,” charged her mother, Nancy Pierre, as she accused teachers and administrators at the Medgar Evers Headstart Program on 71 Lincoln Place with maltreatment.
Now, months later, even after an investigation conducted by the Administration of Children’s Services (ACS) showed that there were some credible evidence to her claims, no one has apologized to the little girl, or her mother Nancy Pierre, who said that she is hoping that the incident will force administrators to make changes.
“Something has to be done,” Pierre said as she recounted what happened to her daughter. “[The punishment] was completely out of order. I just want this school to shape up or ship out. They have no clue how to handle an oppositional child.”
Pierre said that her daughter Nancy, who she describes as “defiant,” was at another day care center, but the fiscal crunch forced her and her husband to put her into the Headstart program.
It was reportedly during one of these defiant episodes that her teacher locked her in the bathroom.
Even more shocking was that the teacher admitted to forcing her daughter in the bathroom during a recent parent−teacher conference although she said that she never locked her inside.
“She told me that she couldn’t lock her inside, because there were no locks in the bathroom,” said Pierre, who immediately filed a complaint with the ACS.
Pierre was later informed that the teacher put her child in the bathroom because Nancy had hit her. The teacher’s actions, however, were still inexcusable, Pierre said.
The ACS seems to agree.
According to a letter dated May 29, a probe into the allegations conducted by their Office of Confidential Investigations determined that her report was “indicated.”
“This means that some credible evidence has been found to support the determination that your child had been maltreated or abused,” the letter states.
Allegations of the abuse even reached City Councilmember Letitia James’s office. After hearing Pierre’s story, James wrote a letter to the director of the Medgar Evers Headstart program asking that the staff receive more training.
She said that staff members should “learn different forms of appropriate interventions when dealing with difficult behaviors or situations.”
“It is clear that the lack of training resulted in this unpleasant incident that transpired,” the councilwoman wrote.
Today, Nancy is still enrolled in the Headstart program, but is being looked after by a different, more caring teacher, Pierre said.
“She’s doing a little better, because she is with a teacher that is willing to go the extra mile,” Pierre said.
Calls to the ACS for comment were not returned as this paper went to press.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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