Two Head Start teachers in East St. Louis are on paid administrative leave after allegations that preschoolers were forced to strip off all of their clothes as part of punishment for misbehaving.
"Children would misbehave in class and the teacher would have them disrobe and stand them, make them stand inside a closet for five or 10 minutes as their discipline. Then they would redress and join the class," said SIUE Police Chief Kevin Schmoll.
According to Chief Schmoll, 4 of the 20 students in the class were forced to take their clothes off. The students are 4 and 5-years-old. Schmoll said this form of punishment had been going on since early February but that police were only notified last week.
Police said the teacher accused of disciplining students inappropriately is 26-years old and has been a Head Start teacher at the center for three years. A second teacher, aged 41 with five years’ experience in the program, was also put on paid administrative leave for allegedly seeing the students forced to take their clothes off and not reporting it.