Ex-California teacher accused of tying up toddler

March 12, 2013 11:10:49 AM PDT
Police are investigating allegations that a former teacher at a Northern California preschool tied up a 2-year-old girl for refusing to take a nap and later showed the photos to other teachers.

A complaint was filed last week with Alameda County's Department of Social Services stating that a former teacher at Centerpointe Christian Preschool in Pleasanton tied the child's wrists and ankles with masking tape, the Bay Area News Group reported.

Church officials said nobody knew about the incident until months later, when the former employee showed cellphone photos of the child to her colleagues at a luncheon. One of the teachers who saw the photo was the child's mother.

The mother went to Pleasanton police and school officials March 4, but it is unknown exactly when the alleged incident happened.

"We are appalled and shocked that such an incident, if proven to be true, took place," Pastor Mike Barris of Centerpointe Church said in a statement. "Every human person made in the image of God, all of the children in our care, deserves the highest degree of respect and protection from any action that dehumanizes them."

The school also will suspend preschool classes for five days, beginning Friday, while the staff undergoes intensive training and outside experts are brought in to help analyze procedure.

The 2-year-old is the only reported victim at this time, Pleasanton police Sgt. Kurt Schlehuber said.

"We're still in the beginning stages of finding out what is going on," Schlehuber said. "The allegation is against one teacher, and we're going to look at if there are any others involved."

In response, the school has informed parents of the violation by sending them a detailed letter, and it will hold a parents-only meeting Tuesday night to answer questions.

According to KNTV-TV, the preschool and the church on Tuesday released a three-page statement detailing past violations. This included a teacher leaving diluted bleach spray within reach of children discovered during an unannounced site visit in October, and improper supervision of a school-aged program in January.