A Head Start teacher is facing false imprisonment and child abuse charges after police said she repeatedly locked a 4-year-old in a bathroom with the lights off.
West Palm Beach Police arrested Dorothy Daphene Kelly, 46, of Riviera Beach Sunday evening. She was released from the Palm Beach County Jail on Monday night after posting $6,000 bond.
According to the police probable cause affidavit, the child’s parents on Feb. 1 went to Palm Beach County Head Start, where Kelly worked, to complain about bruises the child had on her legs. They reviewed classroom surveillance video with the school’s director, then called police.
The affidavit said the video showed Kelly on Jan. 31 “forcefully” place the child in the classroom bathroom and close the doors. The lights inside the bathroom were off.
The video showed the child appearing to get out on several occasions, but Kelly stood by the door and pushed the child back inside. When the girls stopped trying to get out, Kelly left the door and sat at a table across the classroom.
Another 4-year-old helped the girl from the bathroom and Kelly escorted her to her cot. There, Kelly tried covering the child with a blanket, but the girl tried to grab it, the affidavit said. That’s when Kelly started “taunting” the child with the blanket. Kelly passed it to another student, which led the girl to chase that student.
Kelly then picked the child up, brought her to the dark bathroom and closed the door. About 50 minutes had passed since she first locked the child in the bathroom. Another teacher returned to the classroom and let the child out.
Kelly told police the child had injured her on four past occasions. She said the child kicked, bit, scratched and spat in her face. School records show she filed injury reports on two of those occasions. She denied injuring or pinching the child and said she never left the child unattended in the bathroom.
When authorities asked the girl what happened in the bathroom with Kelly, she told them Kelly “does this to my leg,” while she mimicked a pinching motion.