Police have issued an arrest warrant for a Baton, Louisiana, charter school principal accused of locking a 5-year-old girl in a closet, where she said spiders and roaches crawled on her, WRZB reports.
Shafeeq Syid Shamsid-Deen, the 31-year-old principal at Laurel Oaks Charter, who has been suspended, is facing felony cruelty to a juvenile and misdemeanor false imprisonment charges, according to an arrest warrant signed Monday, writes WRZB. The warrant outlines the alleged incident in which a teacher heard the girl screaming and crying inside the school on Aug. 22, the report says.
The teacher, joined by two other administrators, searched and found the 5-year-old girl, who was hysterical, inside a closet in a school cafeteria that was locked from the outside. The closet, police said, contained paint, garbage bags, a ladder and what was seemingly a small chair sitting just inside the door.
Describing the incident to investigators, the student said that Shamsid-Deen would sequester her to the closet when she was “bad.” She also said that the principal turned off the closet light if she screamed, according to the warrant.
When one of the teachers emailed Shamsid-Deen objecting to using the closet as punishment, the warrent says, Shamsid-Deen’s responded that “we will work to make sure we have a proper time out area for scholars to reset in the cafeteria.”
The chairman of the school’s board of directors said Wednesday that Shamsid-Dean had been suspended pending its own investigation, The Advocate reports.
“Laurel Oaks Charter School is committed to the safety and well-being of all students,” the statement reads. “Any action that would constitute a crime or result in neglect of a child has never been the policy at Laurel Oaks Charter School and is currently not the policy.”
Police say Shamsid-Deen has kept in touch with police via his attorney, but he had not been booked as of Wednesday.