Tape used on students at Maryland schools

March 6, 2009 at 11:29 AM

UPPER MARLBORO, Md., March 6 (UPI) -- Up to eight students at two elementary schools in Prince George's County, Md., had their mouths taped shut by staff members, officials say.

John White, a spokesman for the county's schools, said up to seven students at Kingsford Elementary in Mitchellville, Md., may have had their mouths taped shut by an unidentified teacher this week, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The taping incident at Kingsford came to light when a student informed a school counselor a teacher had used masking tape to seal his mouth shut.

White said a similar incident occurred last week at Flintstone Elementary in Oxon Hill, Md. In that incident, an unidentified staff member described as a paraprofessional used masking tape to cover a student's mouth.

Both of the implicated staff members won't have any contact with students until investigations into the incidents are completed.

While the staff members can refute the taping allegations, White told the Post such behavior is not acceptable in Prince George's County.

"It's certainly not appropriate conduct," White said. "It's contrary to expectations parents have of what happens in the classroom where children are learning."

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