Child's mouth taped at Dearborn Hts. preschool

James David Dickson
The Detroit News
A Dearborn Heights preschool class, held at Cherry Hill Baptist Church, is under fire Monday after a family claims two teachers abused their 5-year-old son by Scotch-taping his mouth shut last month.

A Dearborn Heights preschool is under fire Monday after a family claims two teachers abused their 5-year-old son by Scotch-taping his mouth shut last month. 

The boy hasn't returned to class at Highview Preschool in Dearborn Heights since the alleged incident on March 26, said Nabih Ayad, an attorney for the family. 

One of the teachers allegedly involved in the incident, a substitute teaching assistant, was reported to the administration and removed from the school that day, said Laurine VanValkenburg, superintendent of the Crestwood School District. 

"That's not the type of person we want working for us," VanValkenburg said. "This is not our standard of care. This should not have happened."

The boy was part of a "Great Start to Readiness" program at the preschool, which is part of the district but holds classes at Cherry Hill Baptist Church. 

The family of the boy, however, says a second teacher who participated in the alleged abuse is still working at the school, and that there were multiple occasions where abuse happened. 

Ayad says that "about 10 times" a different teacher at the school threw the boy's lunch away or taped his mouth shut, which "humiliated him in front of the entire class."

VanValkenburg said the district has "no knowledge of" any other incidents involving the boy, and that it has reached out to all necessary parties, including the family, the intermediate school district and the Michigan Department of Education, to report the known incident. 

Ayad said the boy's mother pulled him from school the day after the incident and that he hasn't returned. A month later, the family is trying to find another school for the boy, who Ayad describes as "quiet and well-behaved."

VanValkenburg said Monday that "we would very much like the family to return to school."

To which Ayad said "Not while those teachers are there."

Ayad said the family has filed a police report, which was not immediately available. No lawsuit has yet been filed, but Ayad said "we are in the process of drawing it up."

Dearborn Heights Police Department could not immediately be reached.