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Preschool teacher's assistant accused of taping 5-year-old boy's mouth shut in Dearborn Heights

Family of 5-year-old boy says multiple teachers involved in incident

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. – An elementary school teacher's assistant is off the job after parents accused her of taping a 5-year-old boy's mouth shut.

Hoda Dannaoui wants to keep the smile on her son's face. Bike rides are a distraction from what the 5-year-old boy endured in preschool.

"I'm missing my friends," Abdul Dannaoui said.

Abdul hasn't seen his classmates since March, when his parents found out a teacher at the Crestwood School District in Dearborn Heights crossed the line.

"She put Scotch tape on my mouth," Abdul said. "I don't know why."

His mother is determined to get an answer.

"What happened inside the class, they won't tell me," she said.

Abdul is still confused by his teacher's actions.

"I don't know why they did it," he said.

"No one should to this to any kid," Hoda Dannaoui said. "My child has asthma."

She said she trusted the preschool to educate her son and keep him safe, but she said that trust was betrayed.

"My child wasn't safe," Dannaoui said. "This was a lie."

The superintendent acknowledges the incident happened, saying, "A substitute teacher assistant placed a piece of Scotch tape over the mouth for a very brief period of time."

The district's statement also says the teacher and other students witnessed the act. The teacher was immediately removed from employment, the district said.

Abdul's parents want a second assistant fired.

"It's not one teacher," Dannaoui said. "It was two teachers doing this."

The family's attorney said the school's principal is a close friend of the second teacher, and they asked police to investigate further.

"She's protecting her own," attorney Nabih Ayad said. "She's protecting her friend, and that's unfair, and the cost of the children's expense."

Ayad said the next step is to file a civil suit. Dannaoui contends that the taping of the mouth happened numerous times in the classroom, and that both teacher assistants applied the tape.

District officials said they don't condone the action of the assistant and that there's no proof it happened more than once.


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