By Robin Rieger
DEERFIELD, N.J. (CBS) — A Cumberland County mother says no apology or explanation has been offered for what she says happened to her daughter in her elementary school classroom. She says a teacher humiliated her child over a bagel that was part of a free breakfast program.
“It definitely was a shocker. I’m very upset about it,” said Kandice Taylor.
In an exclusive interview, Taylor says her five-year-old daughter Ke’Nya goes to kindergarten at Deerfield Township Elementary school, where she receives free breakfast and lunch because of her mother’s income. On Sunday, Taylor says her daughter told her about an incident in her classroom that left her humiliated.
“There was a bagel there, she had bit it and didn’t like it, so she threw it in the trash can. And then her teacher came over looked inside the trash can, saw the bagel and picked it out just like this and she said, ‘Ke’Nya, you have to eat this and now you’re going to eat this at your desk,’” said Taylor,who added that it happened in front of the rest of the class.
“She said she was very upset because everybody sat and watched her eat it,” said Taylor.
Taylor says on Tuesday she and her daughter went to the school to report the incident. Taylor says in front of school officials, the teacher “said she did it and if she wanted something out of the trash can, she would eat it herself.”
“I do think it may have something to do with low income families,” said attorney John Morris, who represents Taylor.
Morris says New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services interviewed her daughter on Wednesday. Ke’Nya doesn’t want to go to school. Taylor says she won’t make her since they wouldn’t change her classroom immediately.
“I intend to find out what it is that they are going to be doing about this,” said Morris.
“When you went in the trash can, you went beyond anything, you went just as low as a dog. Like, who eats out of a trash can?” said Taylor.
An email to the chief school administrator went unanswered. At the school, Eyewitness News was told officials were unavailable and there would be no comment.