Allegations of child abuse have been brought against a Saginaw Chippewa tribal school in Michigan.
A suspended teacher and a concerned mother are accusing the staff at Sasiwaans Immersion School in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, of mistreating the children in their care, WWTV reported on Jan. 6. The school is on a Saginaw Chippewa Indian reservation.
The teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, told WWTV that staff members at the school held students down during naptime while holding their eyes shut. They also allegedly strapped children into their chairs during lessons and timeouts.
The teacher explained that the school suspended her when she tried to take a video of a 2-year-old girl, Alexis, while she was strapped into a chair.
She claims the girl was hyperventilating and upset because she didn't know what she was being punished for.
"It breaks my heart and it really breaks my heart because Alexis counts on me and there was nothing I could do that day," the teacher said.
Alexis's mother, Adriana Anger, has since removed her daughter from the school out of concern for her safety.
The girl's family said she has often come home from school with unexplained injuries, including bruises and bite marks on her face.
"One time we even picked her up here, there was no contact, and her cheek was actually bleeding her skin was broke open," the girl's grandmother, Victoria Green, said.
"The teachers who personally did this, they need to be escorted out of that school," Adriana said. "No one should be handling 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds if they can't handle themselves."
A spokesman for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian tribe said that an investigation has been opened into the situation but declined to go into more detail.
Less than 1 percent of child abuse cases reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2007 involved professionals outside the home, according to data reported by the American Humane Association.