Randolph

Randolph County parents raise concern about students locked in ‘Frankenstein's Closet'

ELKINS, W.Va. - The Randolph County Board of Education met Tuesday night, and several people in attendance expressed concern for students.

Parents state that a teacher and teacher's aid locked students in a Pre-K classroom closet as a form of punishment for misbehaving at Beverly Elementary School. The closet was said to contain a poster of Frankenstein's monster.

One of the punished students happens to be the child of a fellow teacher at the same school.  The issue was discovered when the child told the parent about the alleged punishment.

“She told me when she was in her Pre-K class, when she was five years old, that she had to be locked in a closet, a Frankenstein closet,” said Joyce Phillips, grandmother of a former Beverly Elementary student.

Phillips said all the students from her grandchild’s Pre-K class are telling similar stories about being locked in a dark closet.  Parents stated that a poster of Frankenstein's monster is hanging inside the closet, and the students refer to the closet as “Frankenstein’s Closet."  Students also stated they were closed away for an unknown amount of time, and that they cried and soiled their pants.

“We did the proper procedures that we’re supposed to be doing since we turned it over to DHHR and the CPS, and that is where it is right now,” said Gabe Devono, Superintendent of Randolph County Schools.

On Wednesday morning, Devono issued the following statement:

"As a follow-up to the recent "Frankenstein Closet" report, please know that these allegations relate to alleged incidents that occurred 7 or 8 years ago.  Regardless of the length of time between the alleged incidents and the recent reporting, administration takes the allegations seriously (and took immediate action, including reporting requirements).  To date, these allegations dating back 7 to 8 years ago have not been substantiated."

Parents asked the Board of Education to do something to the educator who allegedly abused the students so that no other child is affected.

“I was told by an expert in child abuse that a child at four and five years of age is when they learn the difference between what is real and what isn’t real.  These children still believe that monsters are real,” said Phillips.

A concerned resident stated that the BOE's motto is Purpose, Pride, and Perspective, and that person wants to see in the future that children are protected when sent to school.


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