A TEACHER from Danesfield School in Williton has been suspended following claims that children's mouths were taped shut in a classroom.
Head teacher Ian Bradbury took the decision after parents voiced their concerns on Tuesday. He has written to parents promising a ‘full and thorough investigation’.
Parent Sarah Gower said her son told her about the alleged incident when she returned home from work on Monday.
She told the County Gazette: “Aiden said that they were playing a game in the classroom and giggling because it was fun.
“The teacher told them to be quiet and when they didn’t quieten down, the teacher put tape over all of their mouths.
“My son has asthma and he said he couldn’t breathe.
“He didn’t want to go into school this morning because he was supposed to have the teacher for another lesson.
“I just can’t believe that something like this would happen – it’s absolutely appalling.”
A number of other parents went into the school on Tuesday morning to speak to Mr Bradbury.
He is said to have taken statements from all of the children as well as meeting several concerned parents.
A spokesperson from Avon and Somerset Police said they were aware of the incident and was working with the local authority on the matter.
The Education Act of 2011 means the County Gazette is unable to name the teacher.
Dad Adam Knowles told the County Gazette on Tuesday: “I was absolutely shocked when my son Ryan told me what had happened – it’s just shocking and unacceptable.
“Danesfield School is a good school, my son goes here and I want to send my two little girls here. I’ve not had any problems with it until now.”
He said his son Ryan was one of the pupils who had allegedly had his mouth taped. The 11-year-old pupil said: “We were all playing a game and we were in pairs.
“We had to close our eyes and because we kept bumping into stuff we were going ‘ow’ and laughing.
“Our teacher went into the cupboard and said if we didn’t stop laughing that our mouths would be taped up.
“We all had to line up. I had pieces of tape on my mouth. I didn’t want to come to school today it was horrible.”
Mum Stacey Bradbury said she couldn’t believe her ears when son Thomas told her about the alleged incident.
She said: “Thomas said they were all made to line up and had Sellotape put on their mouths for being noisy.
“Apparently one little girl was left with a bleeding mouth – it’s just absolutely disgraceful. Thomas was so upset he didn’t want to go into school on Tuesday.
“The teacher apparently told them that that was a lesson learned and warned them that if they were noisy again it would happen again.”
Mr Bradbury said: “We take all allegations concerning the well-being of our children very seriously.
“An incident happened on Monday which we are investigating thoroughly.
“A member of staff has been suspended while the investigation continues.
“My thanks to the numerous parents who have brought this matter to my personal attention and have given their ongoing support to us in this challenging situation.”
Ian Liddell-Grainger, the MP for West Somerset, said: “I will be making sure that the investigation is dealt with thoroughly and I have been in contact with Michael Gove to let him know about the matter and to assure him we are taking the matter seriously.”
The incident happened on the first working day after Danesfield School, Old Cleeve and St Peter's First Schools became a multi-academy trust known as the Quantock Academy on March 1.
(Adam Knowles with his son Ryan. Photo: SWNS)
Was your child in the classroom when the incident happened? Get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01823-365022.