The girl allegedly refused to settle down during nap time and was bound with duct tape at a day care center in St. Louis, Missouri, according to a lawsuit filed by the girl’s parents.
Details of incident in March were first revealed when Laura Day was bathing her four-year-old daughter, who seemed to be talking a lot about duct tape, a word previously not in her vocabulary.
When her mother pressed her on it, the little girl said that “Mr. Josh” at day care told her, “I have some shiny red duct tape with your name on it.”
The lawsuit claims Day repeatedly pushed her daughter, who revealed that she had been running around when she was supposed to be napping, and the day care teacher, Josh Reeves, bound her legs together with duct tape.
The girl explained that she “tried to walk, but fell over and the class laughed at me.”
Another teacher told her she would be untied once she behaved.
“It was extraordinarily shocking to me to think that the only solution he could think of to get her to behave was to tie her up,” the girl’s father, Joseph Day, told KSDK.
The lawsuit against Zion Lutheran Church, its daycare program, and staff, alleges the school disciplined, but did not fire, the teacher who carried out the punishment, and that a supervisor laughed off the incident.
The church said it does not comment on pending litigation.
The suit, which alleges false imprisonment, assault, battery, negligence, negligent supervision, negligent retention, and civil conspiracy, seeks unspecified damages in excess of $25,000.
The lawsuit was filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court on June 9.
Zion Lutheran Learning Center issued the following statement about the suit, admitting the incident and adding: “The teacher [covering the class for the normally assigned teacher] realized the error and immediately removed the tape. This was an inappropriate response. The teacher was disciplined by the school’s administrator in accordance with the school’s personnel policies and procedures.”
When the Days approached the school, they were shocked to find that the incident had occurred two weeks before, no one had reported the incident to the state regulator of day care facilities, and Reeves had faced no discipline for his actions.
The supervisor they spoke to laughed it off as “a silly thing” and suggested Reeves might need to take another training course.
The Days kept pushing for a better response, and finally reported the incident to the state of Missouri. They pulled their daughter out of the day care center after they learned Reeves was monitoring the playground when their daughter was hit by another child.
According to the lawsuit, the Days said Reeves’ supervisor tried to cover up the incident by duct-taping all the other kids in the group and having them hop down the hallway.
At a meeting the Days demanded with the day care’s board of directors, one of the board members joked about how much energy their daughter had. It figures, he told them, that “she’d be the one to be tied up.”
The Days filed their lawsuit only after the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services investigated and ruled the allegation that the child was bound with duct tape was “substantiated.”
The state required the school to develop a “corrective action plan,” though no specific demands were outlined.
“Either you believe this is serious or you don’t,” the Days told the Riverfront Times. “And either you take action or you don’t."