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School Speaker in Trouble for Taping Teens' Mouths Closed

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This DENVER -- The head of Denver Venture, a DPS charter school, dismissed a volunteer and filed a police report following allegations that the volunteer had used masking tape to restrain the hands and mouths of two 14-year-old boys who had been talking in class.

teacher tapes mouth shut

It's the second such taping incident to come to light at Denver Public Schools in the last three weeks.

"The volunteer was joking around with the kids," said Ami Desai, the head of Denver Venture. "It was not done maliciously. They were laughing and the volunteer was laughing."

But the parents of the two boys are not laughing.

"I did not sign up my child to be in a boot camp," said Mickie Johnson. "I did not sign up my child to be taped for whatever reason, playing, joking, whatever."

Desai told 7NEWS that the volunteer was invited to speak to students about exercise, fitness and nutrition.

"What happened was inappropriate," Desai said. "We asked the volunteer to no longer be a volunteer at the school."

The parents claimed that Desai filed a police report only after they threatened to go to police themselves.

"Ms. Desai said they did my son a favor because he was a chatterbox and that if he had been kicked out of class then he would have been suspended," said Shelly Kitts.

Not only are the parents upset about the taping, but also about the way they were notified.

"We found out about it two weeks later from another parent," Johnson said.

"The school is all about accountability. The boys have to be accountable for their actions. If they speak up or are acting up there are consequences," Kitts said. "I believe the teachers should be held to those same standards."

"For a teacher to be there and to watch it and not stop it, that's my biggest concern," said Bernard Johnson, the father of one of the boys.

Kitts said that when the volunteer pulled the tape off her son, it pulled out some of his hair.

Desai said the boys were able to pull the tape off by themselves.

She admits they were tardy notifying parents but said they have taken action.

Desai said she learned about the incident when one of the boys was asked to go to the principal's office on another matter two days later.

"That's when he told me what happened earlier," said Desai.

When asked about his demeanor, Desai said, "His demeanor was very playful and jovial and it did not send a message to me that it was used in any malicious way."

"Still, it was inappropriate," Desai added.

Mickie Johnson told 7NEWS that she met with a Denver police detective Monday morning.

Both she and her husband said they want to see charges filed in this case.

Last month, police arrested Jennifer Carter, a secretary at Palmer Elementary school following allegations that she taped the wrists and face of a young first-grade student.

Carter, 45, was issued a summons and complaint charging her with misdemeanor child abuse and false imprisonment.

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Joe January 19, 2010, 7:39 AM

Inappropriate? Perhaps.

Criminal? Absolutely not.

This volunteer tried to address a kid talking out of turn and disrupting a presentation in a way that he thought would be memorable and funny. Nobody who was there at the time thought anything of it. Then came the parents, who, rather than reprimanding the kids for being disruptive, are asking for criminal charges over something everyone present thought was all in good fun.

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