Heights family considers filing lawsuit after teachers allegedly tape son’s mouth

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — A Dearborn Heights family is deciding if they should file a lawsuit after their 5-year-old son alleged two teachers taped his mouth shut and took away his lunch.

Abdul Dannaoui was at the Great Start Readiness Program at Cherry Hill Baptist Church on March 26 when the incident allegedly took place. The readiness program operates within the Crestwood School District which prompted a statement release from Supt. Laurine VanValkenburg.

On April 23, the district posted a statement on the district’s Facebook page admitting the incident took place and was reported to Abdul’s parents and other appropriate authorities.

“A substitute teacher assistant placed a piece of Scotch tape over the mouth of a student for a very brief period of time. The GSRP teacher was in the room as were the other children,” VanValkenburg’s statement read. “The teacher reported the incident to the GSRP director who reported it to her supervisor. The substitute teacher assistant was immediately released from employment.”

VanValkenburg also said that there was no other reports on additional incidents of which the district is aware.

“The Crestwood School District does not approve of or accept this type of behavior,” she said in the statement. “The district works to ensure that all children are safe and secure in a high-quality setting.”
The Dannaoi family is claiming that a substitute teaching assistant and a second teacher allegedly taped Abdul’s mouth with Scotch tape during lunch and snack time. The family also alleges that the teachers threw away Abdul’s lunch.

His mother, Houda Dannaoi, said she went to the school’s principal who said the teacher would not do this to a child.

Dannaoi also said 10 similar incidents took place with another teacher and that she was concerned because her son has asthma.

According to the family, Abdul was told by one of the teachers not to tell his parents.

Arab American Civil Rights League Founder and attorney Nabih Ayad said the family removed Abdul from the school following the incident and wants the second teacher fired before he returns.
The family also filed a police report with the Dearborn Heights Police Department.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)