Somerset teacher suspended after allegations that tape was put over pupil’s mouths during art lesson to keep them quiet.

A teacher has been suspended following claims that sticky tape was placed over the mouths of children to keep them quiet during a lesson.

Parents of children at Danesfield Church of England school in Williton, Somerset, have claimed that the incident happened after pupils were laughing and joking during a lesson.

The parents claim that tape was placed over the mouths of children in the year-six class for the duration of the lesson and that the pupils were told they would be sent out if they removed the tape. If it fell off, it was replaced.

One parent claimed his 10-year-old daughter was upset at the treatment and when she removed the tape at the end of the lesson, it took some skin away and left her bleeding.

Avon and Somerset police said they were aware of the allegations. It is not clear yet if the force will investigate or will leave it to the education authorities. The suspended teacher is Spanish and art teacher Priscilla Davo.

Ian Bradbury, executive headteacher of the Quantock Federation, which includes Danesfield and two other schools, said: “We take all allegations concerning the wellbeing of our children very seriously. An incident happened yesterday 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.”

Pupils claimed the teacher lined up almost every one of them who were taking part in an art class and applied the tape to their mouths.

Speaking outside the school gates, one 11-year-old boy said seven pieces of tape were placed on his mouth and they remained in place for 25 minutes.

He said: “She told us if we weren’t quiet she would tape our mouths up and then went to the cupboard, got it out and lined us all up. I was thinking and saying to her, ‘Why are you doing this?’ It is ridiculous and it was upsetting. I’m scared now about if I have to go back into her class. I don’t know what she might do next.”

One mother, Stacey Bradbury, 28, said that her 10-year-old son was deeply upset by the incident, which was said to happened on Monday afternoon.

Bradbury said: “My son returned home from school quite upset. He said that during an art lesson children were being a little bit noisy and acting up a little bit.

“The teacher told them all to stand up and she put them in a line and then put Sellotape across their mouths. They were told that if they removed it she was just put another piece on and the same would happen if it fell off. Some of the boys in the class ended up with quite a lot of Sellotape over their mouths.

“At the end of the lesson they were allowed to take the tape of their mouths but the teacher said this was what was going to happen every time they were noisy.”

Bradbury added: “My son said he had little hairs on his upper lip, as most people do, and they were pulled off by the tape when he took it off. Most people know how painful and horrible that is. This morning my son really didn’t want to go to school.”

She continued: “A number of us when in to see the headteacher today and he said he was keen to nip the whole thing in the bud as soon as possible. He said that the teacher would apologise to the children and that it wouldn’t happen again.”

Another parent, Rob Lovell, said his 10-year-old daughter was left bleeding after the tape was forced over her mouth. He said: “She said the teacher wanted to do an ‘experiment’ and see how long the children would be quiet for. She then put Sellotape on the mouths of everyone in the classroom and they were told they had to keep it on for the whole lesson.

“Obviously the biggest problem came at the end of the lesson – the tape had been on for quite a while by that point. When my daughter took the tape of her mouth it split her lips and they were bleeding. The same thing happened to quite a few of the pupils. They were all very upset.”

Another parent, Lisa Duffield, said her 11-year-old daughter is refusing to go into class with the teacher again..

Children were sent home with a letter from Bradbury describing what happened in the art room as unacceptable. The letter continued: “The member of staff involved has been suspended and a full and thorough investigation is currently being carried out. It would be completely inappropriate to comment on any possible outcome but I can assure you that we take what has happened to be entirely wrong.”

 

Source: The Guardian