05/22/2013 06:10 EDT | Updated 07/23/2013 05:12 EDT

Allegation That Students' Mouths Were Taped Shut Probed By Police

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The Halifax Regional School Board says a second assistant instructor has been sent home on paid leave following complaints that an after-school monitor taped shut the mouths of several Nova Scotia students last week as a punishment.

Both the Halifax Regional School Board and Halifax Regional Police are looking into the allegation.

Doug Hadley, a spokesman for the board, said the second employee may have witnessed the incident.

The incident allegedly happened after school at Bedford South on Thursday. The Halifax Regional School Board said what actually took place still hasn't been confirmed.

“We don’t know what type of tape it was,” said Hadley. “We’re hearing different interpretations of that, but the bottom line is whether it was a certain type of tape or not, it never should have happened.”

It’s alleged that between 10 and 12 students were involved in the incident during the Excel after-school program. There are 90 kids in the program, and seven staff members were working Thursday.

“We’re trying to gather information as to who may have been in the room and who exactly saw what happened,” said Hadley. “There were people in the room at various times. We just don’t know if they were in the room at this particular time, at this stage.”

Hadley said the employee identified as being part of the alleged incident had worked for four months with no previous complaints.

He said school officials have met with some of the students to tell them they did the right thing by telling an adult about the taping.

“If they felt uncomfortable about something, they had to come forward and tell someone. So we told them they did the right thing.”

Parent upset

Meanwhile, the board’s response continued to draw criticism from a mother who said her son was one of the boys involved.

“We, as parents, are very disappointed,” said Jennifer Procunier. “We are entering day six and no one has been in touch with us. Not one person from the Halifax Regional School Board.”

Hadley said some parents have been contacted and he’s asking others concerns to contact the board.

Meanwhile, Halifax Regional Police said they received a complaint from a parent Friday morning. They have interviewed one student so far, but their investigation could expand if they hear further complaints.

Several detectives have been assigned to the case.

The Excel staff member is off work with pay pending the outcome of the school board inquiry. If the allegation is proven, the employee could be disciplined, or fired. Hadley said the investigation could take a couple of days or a week.

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