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Student's Mouth, Hands Duct Taped by School Worker

POSTED: Monday, October 26, 2009 - 6:58am

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:59pm

A Denver, Colorado mother says a secretary at her 6-year-old son's school placed duct tape on his mouth and taped his wrists together. Ashlye Tenner's son, Joshua Fredericks, is in first grade at Palmer Elementary School.

Denver Public Schools did not directly confirm the incident but did say an investigation is underway at Palmer, and an employee there is on paid administrative leave. Tenner says the incident occurred Wednesday. She says her son had been sent to the principal's office because he had been acting up in class.

It appears Joshua continued his antics in the main office in front of the secretary. Tenner says the secretary then took discipline too far. She says the secretary placed duct tape over Joshua's mouth and taped his wrists together.

"I don't care how rowdy he is, if he was bouncing from one end of the school to the next, you don't tape up another person's child, ever," Tenner said. The incident itself is troubling enough, Tenner said, but she says the principal's handling of the case is as disturbing.

"The police weren't called until I came back [Thursday] morning," she said. "When I came [Thursday] morning, the secretary was still at her desk." The school principal, Liz Trujillo, sent a letter home to parents Thursday telling them "allegations of misconduct" have been made.

To Tenner, this misconduct is really child abuse. "It's not acceptable," she said. Thursday, Denver Public Schools released a two-sentence statement saying the district was working with Denver Police on the case. The statement also called the allegations "troubling." "The district is working the Denver Police Department in investigating the matter, and the employee has been placed on administrative leave. This is a very troubling allegation that will be investigated thoroughly, and we will take strong action to address the matter if the allegations are substantiated," Denver Public Schools said in its statement.

Tenner hopes the secretary is fired and repercussions lie ahead for the principal.