SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) A photo of a 12-year- old 7th grader at Wasatch Junior High School with duct tape over his mouth has parents outraged. A teacher allegedly handed him the duct tape and told him to place it over his mouth after acting out on Monday.
“My son sent me a text and a photo in class which he’s not supposed to have a phone in class but his phone was turned off. He turned it on when the incident happened to tell me what was going on,” said Tara Dimoh, the student’s mother.
When Dimoh found out it wasn’t a joke, she immediately reached out to the school principal. “We talked about how I felt. It was very inappropriate and that made me very uneasy and we had a long conversation and my son’s dad also called him and went down to the school to talk about the problem,” said Dimoh.
Tuesday Dimoh went back to the school after learning her son wasn’t the only student handed duct tape. The Granite School District says they immediately launched an investigation.
The district spokesman says the teacher never placed the duct tape over the students mouth, but she has been put on administrative leave.
“The teacher simply handed him a piece of duct tape and in a not so nice way told him to be quiet and I think it was implied he was supposed to put the duct tape on his mouth,” said Ben Horsley, Granite School District Spokesman.
Dimoh says she later posted the picture on a private group Facebook page and someone there made it public without her permission. She says she never intended to hurt the teacher, but says the duct tape was unnecessary.
“It isn’t a case of ‘I don’t think the teacher shouldn’t be able to give consequences’. It’s a case of ‘duct tape is not one of those consequences’. Also, I don’t think she knew the context. The kids were working on an assignment he asked the girl next to him about the assignment,” said Dimoh.
The district says teachers have to be creative with how they approach students or discipline them, but duct tape is going too far. Parents at Wasatch Junior High School say Dimoh did the right thing.
“I would be livid. I would be in here right away,” said Tannin Scrivner.
“I think I’d be pretty upset if that was my child. I don’t think any behavior deserves that kind of treatment,” said Janee Rasmussen.
The district says in past situations of punishment it did not result in a teacher losing their job, but they are taking appropriate action.