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Mom: Substitute teacher duct-taped kid's mouth shut

A mother in Louisiana is pursuing legal action against a substitute teacher she says put duct tape across her child’s mouth.

Michelle Droody says it took her a week to figure out why her 9-year-old son, a student at J. Wallace James Elementary School in Lafayette, La., was so upset.

“He just told me he didn’t want to go back to school no more,” Wallace told KATC TV in Lafayette. “And he didn’t want to be friends with anybody in his class or school.”

Only after school officials interviewed about 100 students did Droody learn that a substitute teacher used red duct tape, normally used for arts and crafts projects, to quiet her son.

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Dr. Pat Cooper, superintendent of Lafayette Parish Public Schools, confirmed the incident to KATC, which happened Sept. 12, and said the substitute treated the student both “outside the boundaries of [their] discipline matrix” and “outside the boundaries of common sense.”

Cooper said the teacher had been disciplined.

“We fell like we’ve taken the necessary disciplinary action against that teacher, but the parent always has the right to take additional charges.

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Droody said she intends to pursue further criminal charges. 

“Now he has to face these same kids for the rest of the year that were sitting there laughing at him, the embarrassment and the shame that goes along with having someone you’re supposed to respect that comes and duct tapes your mouth shut in front of everybody," Droody said.

Lafayette Police Department Public Information Officer Paul Mouton told NBC News police were contacted by the school, and a report has been filed and police are actively investigating the incident.

“If investigators determine that enough probable exists, the detective in charge will issue a warrant and have the substitute teacher arrested,” Mouton said. “If there’s not enough cause, the case will be submitted for review.” 

This isn't the first time a teacher has tried to quiet a student by using duct tape. 

A third-grade teacher in Albuquerque was placed on administrative leave last October for allegedly duct-taping the mouths of two students to keep them quiet. A first grade teacher in Massachusetts was fired after she duct-taped 20 students, although she insisted the duct tape was tied to a book her students read earlier in the year. 

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