Local News

Harnett parent outraged over claims teacher taped child's hands

Posted April 8, 2011 6:18 p.m. EDT
Updated April 12, 2011 5:09 p.m. EDT

Frank Gibson is unhappy about the punishment a teacher enforced on his son.

— A Harnett County father is outraged after he said a teacher taped his 5-year-old son's hands together. 

Frank Gibson said a teacher's life lesson went too far at Boone Trail Elementary in Lillington. Gibson said his son snatched a rubber stamp off his teacher's desk, placed it in his pocket and then back on the desk.

Gibson said the teacher then asked the kindergartner, “What happens when you steal?" His son answered, “You go to jail.”

That's when, Gibson said, the teacher wrapped tape around the boy's wrists like handcuffs.

"She didn't bind them behind his back, she bound him over his head," Gibson said. "Even if she was trying to make a joke, it's not funny." 

Another student who saw it happen told an art teacher.

The kindergarten teacher, whose name hasn't been released, was placed on leave with pay after the alleged incident was reported March 30, officials said. The school began an investigation. 

But Gibson said he didn't know about the incident until six days later when the principal called. 

"I don't understand what kind of an investigation you had going. The parents should be involved with anything with their children. It is not your decision," Gibson said. 

Patricia Lewis, a spokeswoman for Harnett County Schools, told WRAL News that it took almost a week to notify Gibson because there were lots of students and teachers to interview. She said because the allegation was brought by another student to another teacher, school administrators had to confirm who was involved. As soon as it was confirmed what student was involved, the parents were notified, she said. 

Gibson said he is also upset that the teacher was placed on paid leave.

"You can call it administrative leave all you want, but she does not deserve to get paid for taping a child’s hands and get two weeks of vacation," he said.

Gibson thinks the school mishandled the incident and perhaps the teacher should be given a dose of her own punishment. 

"Once they even thought about suspending her, the police and authorities should have been called. She should have been handcuffed and taken to jail, just as I would have myself if I had taped a child and someone else had caught me," Gibson said. 

Lewis did not know long the investigation would take. If it is determined the teacher bound the child's hands with tape, the superintendent would decide her punishment.