A 5-year-old girl has accused her kindergarten teacher of forcing her eat a bagel that she had tossed in the trash.
The child’s miffed mother contacted police, reached out to child protective services and has fired a lawyer to deal with the teacher and her alleged act, the South Jersey Times reports.
The child, Ke’Nya, who is black, attends the Deerfield Township Elementary School in New Jersey. The youngster told her mom, Candice Harris, that she threw away the bagel because she didn’t like the taste. The teacher, who is white and who has not been identified, walked over to the trash can, pulled out the bagel, then reportedly forced the child to eat it in front of all of her classmates.
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After listening to her child’s story, Harris went to the school’s superintendent to discuss what had taken place regarding the bagel incident. The superintendent then summoned the educator in question to an impromptu meeting with Ke’Nya’s mom.
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“The teacher admitted it to me right away in front of the superintendent,” Harris told the South Jersey Times. “The teacher told me that she wouldn’t have had a problem eating the bagel. She also refused to apologize. It wasn’t until I threatened to file a police report, hire an attorney and go to the News that the superintendent offered an apology. There was absolutely no sign of remorse from the teacher.”
According to Harris, the teacher explained that the trash was only full of paper but the mother feels this fact does not justify her actions in any way.
After reviewing the case, New Jersey State Police determined that the matter should remain within the confines of the Board of Education. “We looked into it and determined that it is not a criminal matter,” said Lt. Gary Catts.
School Board President William Miller stated, “We obviously would not condone that sort of behavior. It is ridiculous to think that we would consider that OK for one of our students. However, with that being said, I cannot comment further until all the facts are substantiated.”
Harris took even further steps by contacting the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency (formerly DYFS). Spokeswoman for the government agency to the South Jersey Times, “By law, I am unable to comment on the matter. However, this type of situation qualifies as something DYFS would look into and pursue.”
The mom has also hired an attorney because she believes race definitely came into play in this case.
“We’re a low-income black family. Most of the people who attend the school are white,” Harris contends.