State News

Fayetteville parents say children were locked in school closet

Posted February 1, 2011

— Two Fayetteville parents have filed separate lawsuits saying their elementary school children were punished by being locked in a janitor's closet known as "The Dungeon."

Joan Williams and Charlene Covington both seek damages of more than $20,000, saying their children were locked in the closet during the 2009-2010 school year.

The lawsuits say their children and another kindergartner at Alma Easom Primary School in Fayetteville were punished for acting up in class by being locked in a janitor's closet.

Both parents declined to comment to WRAL News.

Fayetteville parents sue school over punishment Fayetteville parents sue school over punishment

"These mothers are simply providing a voice for their children. They are simply trying to get recourse for children that are being ignored, whose stories are being swept under the rug by the school," said attorney Laura Conner, who is representing both families.

Cumberland County Schools lawyer David Phillips says he can't comment about the case, but the school system has investigated the allegations.

"Cumberland County Schools has not been served with the lawsuits, and therefore, we cannot comment on them. We do not generally comment on pending litigation for legal reasons. However, we are aware of the parental concerns leading to the lawsuits," the school system said in a statement issued to WRAL News on Tuesday.

"We are aware that the lawsuit claims that students were locked in a janitor’s closet or other room. Based on our investigation, this simply did not occur, and we will be vigorously defending ourselves from such claims. The custodian involved resigned from Cumberland County Schools on Aug. 6, 2010 for reasons unrelated to the lawsuit."


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  • dumbhick Feb 2, 2011

    "true as weel", "if the teachers where >aloud< to spank them"

    Closets didn't seem to work for some of you

  • gpcatgirl Feb 2, 2011

    Why would not 1 but 2 kids lie about being locked into a closet? Childern do lie but so do ADULTS. If the teacher did this they should be punished if it was my child they wouldn't have to worry about being sued I would take care of it myself.

  • mad_dash Feb 2, 2011

    Please tell me that all of you dont HONESTLY believe this mess about being locked in a closet!! Here's a news flash for you.. CHILDREN LIE!!!!!

  • gpcatgirl Feb 2, 2011

    We are talking about elementary school kids. Kids will be kids they are not perfect little angels and we do have to teach them. But locking them in a closet is not the right way to handle it.

  • dmccall Feb 1, 2011

    If the teacher did, indeed, do this, then it is wrong.

    That said, these parents should be embarrassed that their children are so ill-behaved that the teacher has to resort to this. Teach your children some SELF CONTROL and to RESPECT AUTHORITY.

  • mikeyj Feb 1, 2011

    Kick the A C L U in the hiney keister and BRING BACK THE PADDLE!
    dlnorri:5:17pm; Did you go to my elememtary school?

  • bigbadbill Feb 1, 2011

    I find it amusing that the parent should have to come to class and supervise the child there. If that were the case corporal punishment would surely make a comeback in the classroom ;-)

  • affirmativediversity Feb 1, 2011

    I am happy that as a child you were obviously never abused or "locked in a closet or room" for punishment...

    BUT just so you a child being "LOCKED IN" anything is SCARY beyond belief...IT IS TORTURE!!!!!

  • dlnorri Feb 1, 2011

    Since there is no longer corporal punishment this may be the best answer. Every school should have a dungeon or several. Cause problems off you go. Small, unconfortable chair, and a couple of books. While in the dungeon escape can be earned by grade appropriate accomplishments, memorize a few paragraphs of literature, some multiplication tables, a set of historical dates/events. Just like real court, you could assign dungeon time multiple days at recess or milk break; or give a few hours straight for serious contemplations...

  • affirmativediversity Feb 1, 2011

    I agree. OR, at the very least if a child is consistently or continuiously disruptive, abusive to others or matter their age THE CHILD'S PARENT should be REQUIRED TO COME TO THE SCHOOL and either REMOVE THE CHILD or SUPERVISE THE CHILD IN THE should not be the "job" of the teacher to impose discipline beyond what is reasonably required for ALL children within the age group they teach...NOR SHOULD IT BE PERMITTED

    Now wouldn't that solve a lot of problems...Parents would be responsible for the children AND teachers would be responsible for teaching!!!!