Five-year-old Abdul Dannaoui's family says two of the boy's teachers placed tape over his mouth and threw out his lunch in front of the class on March 26 — then told him not to tell anyone about it, WXYZ reported.
“I’m emotionally heartbroken. Disappointed. That’s his second home. That’s how they treat a child with asthma?” his mother Hoda told the station.
The family's lawyer Nabi Ayad told WJBK a teacher walked in and saw that another teacher had placed tape over Abdul's mouth and that his lunch was thrown in the garbage.
In an interview posted to Facebook, Abdul's mother told WXYZ she had gone to pick up her child when a supervisor told her Abdul had been "taped."
"We feel that it was just a joke amongst these teachers, a laugh for them,” Ayad told WXYZ/CNN. “It's outrageous. It's absurd that you think you send your kid to a place or school, where he would be safe."
Abdul told his mother similar incidents had happened multiple times, and that another teacher was involved, according to WJJ.
"They've been putting tape across the child's mouth so he can't open his mouth during lunchtime, in front of the entire class, while the entire class eats their lunch," Ayad told WJJ. "He has to sit there and watch them and has his mouth shut with this tape, and they throw away his food."
The school district disputes those claims.
According to the school district's statement, a part-time substitute teacher's aide did place a piece of scotch tape on the child's mouth for a "very brief" period of time in March. The GSRP teacher and other students were in the room and the teacher reported it to her supervisor, who reported it to her superintendent, according to the statement.
"That's not the type of person we want working for us," Crestwood School District Superintendent Laurine VanValkenburg told the Detroit News "This is not our standard of care. This should not have happened."
The family's lawyer Nabi Ayad told WXYZ the family will not be satisfied until a different teacher the family says was involved is terminated.
“One of the teachers was discharged. But, they kept the other teacher who said don’t tell your mom or dad, and even gave him a bracelet to entice him not to tell anyone” she told the station.
VanValkenburg told The Detroit News the school had no knowledge of any similar incidents but had reached out to authorities and other parties regarding the one incident they did know about.
The mom told WJBK she had no reason to think her son was lying.
"Should I believe my son? Or should I say he's a liar?" Houda Dannaoui told the Detroit Free Press. "Something is not right ... how is my son not telling the truth?"
"We're asking for a thorough investigation, not only by the law enforcement authorities but as [well] as by the state administration, the body that oversees these teachers," Ayad told WJJ. "And we're asking for the school superiors to take immediate action to discharge the other teacher that was involved."
Dannaoui told the Detroit Free Press she had filed a police report, which the police department confirmed to the paper. Superintendent VanValkenburg told the Detroit Free Press the district was "certainly been very transparent."
Ayad told WXYZ he was in the process of drawing up a lawsuit but that it had not been completed yet.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the name of the school and to reflect additional information released from Crestwood School District. According to the school district, the child was attending the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) at Cherry Hill Baptist Church .