Parents furious after claims kindergartners were forced in a closet to be disciplined

Parents furious after claims kindergartners were forced in a closet to be disciplined

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - A teacher is out of the classroom after claims she forcibly took kids into a closet and disciplined them.

Parents claim this happened at Salem Church Elementary School last week, but the school never told parents of the alleged incident in the kindergarten classroom.

“How dare her have the nerve to touch my child or put her in the closet,” Tonya Russomanno said. “We found out through our children this week that their teacher had pulled them into a closet to yell at them."

The alleged incident happened on May 9 with four boys ranging from 5 to 6 years old.

“What did their faces look like and how did they feel when she was taking them by their little arms and was dragging them in there,” Kaitlynn Gordon said.

It’s not just the fact of it happening that’s caused these parents to be angry. They say the school knew about it and didn’t let them know.

“I couldn’t get out of him why. All he said it was him and a group of friends,” Russomanno said.

These moms say another staff member overheard the boys asking the accused teacher “if they would be put back into the closet” and told administration .

“I’m fighting back the tears because he is 6. Why would a 6-year-old be put through something like this from someone who is suppose to be there for him. Not a monster,” Gordon said.

Upset about what happened, the parents went to the district.

“It was a group of six parents. We went to the school board where we were told there was nobody who could speak with us,” Russomanno said.

The parents say they were able to speak with lawyers with the county, but didn’t get any answers.

“You don’t need to take him into the closet and yell at him like he is a dog. That’s how I feel like my child was treated, like he’s a dog,” Gordon said.

The school system released a statement confirming the teacher will not return to the classroom for the remainder of the year.

A substitute will be in the classroom with the students.

Chesterfield police confirm they are investigating what they call an alleged assault with several students.

These parents say they just want answers.

“Watch your kids. Ask them questions because you never know what could be going on,” Russomanno said.

No charges have been filed in the incident.

The full statement from the school to parents below:

As we head into the few remaining weeks of school, we are sincerely appreciative of how focused our students are on their classroom work and activities. I want to personally share with you that for the remainder of the school year, your child will have a substitute teacher as (teacher name) is not returning to school. I, Mrs. McCracken (assistant principal), our school’s literacy specialist/team, and math specialist will visit the classroom often and check in with the students to ensure a smooth transition. If your child is having any difficulties or if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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