A kindergarten teacher at a Florida elementary school has been suspended pending probable termination after officials found she allegedly duct taped her young students as a means of punishment.
Lindsay Blanc would also threaten misbehaving students, telling them they would be sent away in a white van if they did not change their behavior.
Blanc, 29, was suspended after a unanimous vote by the Hillsborough County School Board at Tuesday’s meeting, district spokeswoman Tanya Arja told the Daily News.
Blanc has the option of appealing the decision; if she declines, the board will schedule a vote to terminate her, Arja said.
The district learned in April that Blanc used green duct tape to tape a 5-year-old boy’s eyes shut as punishment while the rest of the class was watching a movie, according to a Tampa police report obtained by The News. The district responded to the sticky situation by removing her from the classroom, Arja said.
The Tampa Police Department conducted an investigation and interviewed several students. Some of the children said the music teacher used duct tape or threatened to do it and others said they did not see her use it.
“You get duct tape over your eyes and mouth if you are bad. The white van then picks you up and then you go to the office,” a kindergartener told the officers when asked what happens to students who misbehave in Miss Blanc’s class.
An administrator told police she was called to the room to help with a misbehaving student but when she arrived at the doorway Blanc was preventing it from opening. The administrator then waited in the hallway to speak with the student.
Blanc was not charged by police and the educator denied the allegations, Arja said.
But the district conducted an investigation and sided with the children.
The April incident involved a 5-year-old who was said to be disrupting class by making noises with his armpit during a music lesson. Blanc told him to sit at a table for a “time out,” but when he kept turning around to watch a movie, Blanc allegedly taped his eyes closed, the report stated.
The child did not complain of any injuries.
The boy’s mother told the Tampa Bay Times the child is experiencing emotional trauma from the incident that includes nightmares and tantrums.
The district also found the principal at Potter Elementary School expressly told the teacher, prior to this incident, not to touch any of the children, the newspaper reported. Blanc allegedly showed the principal the roll of tape and said she threatened the students that if they misbehaved they would “get this.”
It now appears it was Blanc who got the final punishment.