Charges for teachers accused of forcing preschool children to stand naked in closet

BELLEVILLE, Ill.  — Two southern Illinois pre-school employees accused of punishing children by making them stand naked in a closet are charged with unlawful restraint and battery.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Police Chief Kevin Schmoll has said four or five children ages 5 years and under have been subjected to the punishment at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in East St. Louis since early February. SIUE operates the pre-school.

The St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s office announced Wednesday that teacher Mary Agbehia of Edwardsville and teachers’ aide Shavonda Willis of Fairview Heights are charged with felony aggravated battery and unlawful restraint.

SIUE Human Resources Director Bob Thumith says the university hasn’t made a decision about Agbehia’s and Willis’ employment. It isn’t clear if the women have lawyers who can comment on their behalf.

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