Two staff members at an #Illinois preschool have been placed on administrative leave after they were accused of making children stand naked as a form of punishment.
The 26-year-old #HeadStart teacher, who has not officially been identified, reportedly introduced the punishment in February at the program where she has worked for the last three years, according to the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Police Department. The program is operated out from that university, which leases the classroom space from a community center in East St. Louis that’s about 30 minutes south of its main campus @nbcnews reports.
The teacher and her aide, who police said was aware of the punishments but did not report it, lead a classroom of about 20 children ranging between 4 and 5 years old, according to police.
Students were allegedly asked to take off their clothes then stand in a closet naked as a way to discipline them. The university’s police began investigating the accusations last week after a young boy told his parents about the alleged punishment, police said.
“That little boy is very brave for coming forward and telling us what was happening in his classroom,” said SIUE Police Chief Kevin Schmoll.
Both the teacher and the 41-year-old teacher’s aide have been placed on administrative leave while authorities investigate the matter.
A letter has been sent to parents of other children in the class and police said they plan to follow up with phone calls to determine if there are any additional victims, according to Schmoll.
Police will be conducting interviews with children, which will begin in the first week of April.
The police are also working with child services and prosecutors to determine whether the teachers will be charged with child abuse.
These kind of situations are a parent’s worst nightmare because we entrust so much in those we expect to be watching our children.
We will continue to follow this story and let you know if there are any updates.
TSR STAFF: Christina C! @cdelafresh