A teacher in Memphis, Tennessee landed herself in hot water after deciding it was a good idea to lock a 5-year-old girl in a closet to reprimand her for “being bad.”
According to reports, Kristin Oshfeldt, a kindergarten teacher A.B. Hill Elementary, has been suspended with pay following the incident that has left 5-year-old Akeelah Joseph terrified to go back to school. Joseph was in the dark closet for over an hour and was only found by a substitute teacher after Oshfeldt wound up going home early because she was sick.
“I was playing too much,” said Akeelah of the reason why Oshfeldt locked her in the closet to begin with. “I almost peed on myself if I didn’t make it the bathroom.”
Akeelah’s mother Wanda Joseph says she was horrified to learn that the teacher treated her daughter so poorly.
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“I am hearing that the teacher locked my child in a closet, because she was supposedly bad,” said Joseph. “You don’t do that. I hurried up to the school and started yelling, ‘Where my daughter at? Where my daughter at?’ She was cold. She came out cold and shaking. Plus she has asthma. She could have had an asthma attack in that closet!”
Reports claim that this may not have been the first time that Oshfeldt has locked a child in the closet to discipline them, and the mother of one another kindergartener at A.B. Hill says that’s not what she sends her child to school for.
“You shouldn’t have to worry about this,” said mother Branelle McGaughy. “You send your kids to school to learn. Not to be put in closets and hit over the head with rulers and stuff like that.”
Akeelah’s mother says that locking a young child in a closet as punishment is unacceptable.
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"You don't do a child like that,” said Wanda Joseph. “If you're going to punish a child, you tell them to stop and behave or you're going to write them up and send them to office. You don't put a child in a closet, period.”
The school district, the Memphis police department, and the Department of Children’s Services are currently investigating the incident. Oshfeldt remains suspended with pay while the investigation continues.