Teacher accused of locking kindergartner in closet as punishment

Teacher accused of locking kindergartner in closet as punishment

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A.B. Hill Elementary School (Photo courtesy of Google Maps) A.B. Hill Elementary School (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -

A kindergarten teacher in Memphis is accused of punishing a student by locking her in a closet Tuesday.

WREG-TV reports the teacher at A.B. Hill Elementary eventually went home sick without telling anyone where the little girl was.

A substitute teacher found 5-year-old Akeelah Joseph an hour later, who reportedly stated she was scared no one would find her.

"I was playing too much," Akeelah told the news station. "I almost peed on myself if I didn't make it the bathroom."

The girl's mother and the school's principal filed a police report, which notes students told police "that this isn't the first time that [their teacher] has done this."

Akeelah's mother, Wanda Joseph, said she got a call from the principal two hours after it happened, and that it was the first time her daughter had been in trouble.

 "I am hearing that the teacher locked my child in a closet because she was supposedly bad. You don't do that. I hurried up to the school and started yelling, ‘Where my daughter at? Where my daughter at?'" Joseph told WREG-TV.

"She was cold. She came out cold and shaking. Plus she has asthma. She could have had an asthma attack in that closet!" she continued.

The mother said the principal is going to talk to the teacher and ask what happened, then present the information to the Board of Education who will then decide if she will be punished by either suspension or firing.

"I think she needs to lose her job over that," Joseph added.

According to the news station, Akeelah is now afraid to go back to school.

 "She really liked her teacher, but I didn't know she would do her like that, do a child like that, put someone in a closet," her mother said.

The Department of Child Services was also notified.

No charges have been filed.

*WREG-TV contributed to this report.

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