A primary school teacher has been suspended for Sellotaping over the mouths of her 10-year-old pupils after they refused to stop giggling and talking.
Priscila Davo Ortega, 27, allegedly lined up more than 20 children during her art lesson and put layers of sticky tape across their lips because they were being too noisy.
Parents said that when some children ripped off the tape because they were struggling to breathe, the Spanish-born teacher replaced it.
Other children were left with bleeding lips when the tape was removed, and several said that they were scared about returning to school.
Miss Ortega has been suspended from teaching art and Spanish at Danesfield Church of England middle school in Williton, Somerset, pending an investigation. Police said they would work with the local education authority.
Parents learned what had happened when their children returned home on Monday. The Year 6 pupils said Miss Ortega imposed the punishment because they were making too much noise while playing a game of blind man’s bluff.
Lisa Duffield, said: ‘I was absolutely disgusted when my daughter told me what the teacher had done. I went straight round the school and demanded to speak to Mr Bradbury, the headteacher.
‘I told Mr Bradbury that under no circumstances was my daughter to be taught by her until this matter was sorted out. I didn’t trust myself to speak to the teacher myself, as I feared I might slap her.
Sarah Gower, 38, of Williton, said: ‘The teacher did not like that they were giggling too loud, told them all to be quiet, and if they weren’t quiet she would put Sellotape over their mouths, which she did.
‘A couple of them had difficulty breathing, so they ripped it off and she put more on top. My son was confused about what happened and he was a bit scared about going to school this morning.’
Pupil Thomas Bradbury said some pupils had rashes after the sellotape placed over their mouths to keep them quiet was torn off
Stacey Bradbury, 28, from Watchet, Somerset, said she was ‘disgusted, shocked, traumatised’ by Miss Ortega’s actions.
Her 10-year-old son Thomas said: ‘She put Sellotape on our mouths just because we were talking. Some people had a really bad rash after and some girls in my class had their lips bleeding.’
Rob Lovell, 33, of Williton, said his 10-year-old daughter told him Miss Ortega said she was carrying out an ‘experiment’ to see how long the children could be quiet.
‘When my daughter took the tape off her mouth, it split her lips and they were bleeding,’ he said. ‘The same thing happened to quite a few of the pupils. They were all very upset.’
Miss Ortega is from the village of Huetor Santillan, near Granada. She worked as a nanny in London from November 2010 to June 2011, before returning to Spain to complete a master’s degree in secondary education.
A teacher has been accused of taping up the mouths of 10-year-olds at Danesfield Church of England School, Williton, Somerset
She did a month-long placement at Danesfield in 2012, and began working there full-time in January. In May last year, she wrote on Facebook: ‘Now for sure, next school year, I will be an art and Spanish teacher in Danesfield School in pretty Sommerset[sic]! A bit nervous but happy.’
Last night, Miss Ortega’s family said she must have acted ‘in jest’ and not to punish the children.
Pablo Davo, her uncle, who lives next door to her parents Jorge and Mari Trini in Huetor Santillan, said: ‘Sellotaping children’s mouths up because they’re being noisy would be totally out of character for Priscila.
Avon and Somerset Police confirmed they had spoken to one family but added that they would not be taking any further action
‘She loves her job and she loves children and she never mentioned any problems when she was back here a couple of weeks ago.’
Danesfield School was rated as ‘good’ in its most recent Ofsted report, and the incident happened on the first day of lessons since it became an academy.
Headteacher Ian Bradbury said: ‘The wellbeing of our children is of vital importance to us. An incident happened in a lesson on Monday. Following that incident, I have suspended the teacher involved until a full and thorough investigation has taken place.’
‘I’M SCARED NOW’: PUPILS SPEAK ABOUT THEIR ORDEAL
Pupils at Danesfield School said the incident came during a ‘trust game’ where they were led round the room by classmates while their eyes were closed.
Speaking outside the school gates, Ryan Knowles, 11, said Ms Davo put seven pieces of tape on his mouth which remained in place for 25 minutes.
The schoolboy said: ‘She told us if we weren’t quiet she would tape our mouths up and then went to the cupboard, got it out and lined us all up.
‘I was thinking and saying to her ‘why are you doing this?’ It is ridiculous and it was upsetting. I’m scared now about if I have to go back into her class. I don’t know what she might do next.’
Ryan’s father Adam, 34, said the incident flew in the face of the trust he put in teachers to look after his son.
The paper mill worker said: ‘All those teachers in there are strangers to me, but you have to trust them.
Ryan Knowles, 11, said Ms Davo put seven pieces of tape on his mouth which remained in place for 25 minutes
‘But then this happens – it’s disgusting.’
Lisa Duffield, 42, said her daughter Ella, 11, is refusing to go into class with the teacher again.
The shop assistant said: ‘It’s disgusting. I can’t believe it has happened.
‘Ella is quite sensitive like lots of girls her age and she was very angry. She said: “Mum I’m not going back into that class with that teacher ever again”.
‘The most upsetting thing about the whole thing is you take them to school trusting they will be looked after by adults.
‘I want her gone. This is disgusting. I’ve been told that the kids are going to get a full apology from the teacher. I hope so.
‘If I had done that to Ella and she came into school and told them I would have had social services called.’
Cheryl Mills’ daughter Jess, ten, told the teacher she was allergic to sticky tape but was still given the punishment.
The mother-of-three said: ‘I feel very let down. She isn’t allergic but she just panicked and didn’t know what to do.
‘She told her she was allergic but it made no difference. She was one of two kids who took it off.
‘Jess was a bit shocked and upset. She didn’t know what to say or how to feel.’