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Boy, 5, says teachers shut his mouth, threw away his lunch



A Michigan substitute teacher was fired after a preschooler claimed that the teacher had closed his mouth and thrown away his lunch.

The deputy was "released immediately" from the Crestwood School District in southern Michigan after a witness told the school officials that in March she had the headmaster of the school district, assistant doctor Scotch Tape, 5-year-old Abdul Dannaoui said in a statement Wednesday.

The district said he had reported the incident to Abdul's parents and "other appropriate authorities," but the boy's family said the district had failed to address the situation with appropriate discipline and transparency.

Abdul said the March 26 incident happened before his classmates at noon. He claimed that two teachers had stopped him from eating by shutting his mouth ten times, his mother Hoda Dannaoui told ABC member WXYZ on Monday.

  PHOTO: Highview Elementary School, Dearborn Heights, Michigan, where a student claims a teacher has closed his mouth. WXYZ
The Highview Elementary School in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, where a student claims a filmed teacher

Abdul, who attends the High School Elementary School's preschool program in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, also claimed the teachers would have thrown his lunch in the trash and laughed about it.

"I'm emotionally heartbroken." Disappointed, this is his second home, treating a child with asthma, "said his mother, adding that she intended to remove him from school. "I am not afraid, I will fight for my child."

The family said they filed a report with the Dearborn Heights police and plan to take legal action against the school district, their lawyer Nabih Ayad told WXYZ.

  PHOTO: Hoda Dannaoui, left, with her 5-year-old son Abdul and her lawyer. WXYZ
Hoda Dannaoui, left, with her 5-year-old son Abdul and her lawyer.

The Dearborn Heights Division confirmed that they are investigating the incident.

"It's outrageous, it's absurd, you think you're sending your child to a place or a school where he would be safe," Ayad said. "One of the teachers was fired, but they kept the other teacher who said," Do not tell your mother or father, "and even gave [my son] a bracelet to tempt him not to tell anyone about it.

"We find that among these teachers it was just a joke – a laugh for them," he added.

Crestwood Superintendent Laurine Van Valkenburg said the district had found no evidence to suggest a second employee might have been involved.

"There were no other reports of similar incidents," said Van Valkenburg in the Wednesday statement. "The Crestwood School District does not accept or accept this type of behavior.

"The district works to ensure that all children are safe and secure in a high-quality environment," she added.


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