Arrest warrant issued for school principal accused of locking 5-year-old in closet
BATON ROUGE -- A charter school principal accused of locking a kindergartner in a broom closet has been suspended and now faces arrest on felony and misdemeanor charges.
Shafeeq Syid Shamsid-Deen, the 31-year-old principal at Laurel Oaks Charter, will be arrested on felony cruelty to a juvenile and misdemeanor false imprisonment charges, according to an arrest warrant signed Monday.
On Aug. 22, a teacher heard a child crying and screaming, but couldn't immediately find her. Two other teachers then joined the search.
It led them to a closet in the school cafeteria that was locked from the outside.
Inside, they found a hysterical 5-year-old girl.
Police say the closet had paint, garbage bags, a ladder and what appeared to be a small chair sitting just inside the door.
The girl told investigators that Shamsid-Deen would put her in the closet when she was "bad." She said that if she screamed, he turned off the light in the closet, according to the warrant.
The student told authorities it was "nasty and gross," and that the closet contained spiders and roaches.
One of the teachers told police she sent an email to Shamsid-Deen objecting to using that closet as punishment. Police said Shamsid-Deen's response was "Thank you for your observation and note. We will work to make sure we have a proper time out area for scholars to reset in the cafeteria."
The school board released the following statement to WBRZ Wednesday: