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Saturday, March 2, 2024 | Back issues
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The Preschool From Hell

MARTINEZ, Calif. (CN) - A church preschool teacher hogtied a 2-year-old girl who didn't sleep during naptime, then "tormented" her mother "with a picture of her hogtied daughter and boasted that she had been the one who did it," the little girl's parents claim in court.

In the complaint, the parents claim that the preschool principal hired the unlicensed teacher because of his "sexual attraction" to her

John and Mary Roe sued Angela Calcagno and Centerpointe Church and Preschool, in Contra Costa County Court, on behalf of their daughter.

"This complaint stems from Calcagno's untenable practice of 'hogtying' (i.e., binding the hands and feet with tightly applied masking tape) children who could not sleep during naptime," the complaint states. "Further, Centerpointe Church and Preschool's principal administrator allowed this serious regulatory violation to occur because, due to his sexual attraction for Calcagno, he wanted her working there even though she was unlicensed."

The parents say they paid to enroll their 2-year-old daughter in Centerpointe Church and Preschool, in Pleasant Hill. The preschool operates on church property and has more than 100 children in its program, according to the complaint.

The complaint does not identify the "principal administrator" of the school, but it claims that "Calcagno is presently pursuing sexual harassment proceedings against the principal administrator."

The parents claim that the principal administrator "represented to John and Mary Roe that the preschool followed all regulatory and other legal requirements applicable to preschools, including the requirement that only licensed child care professionals would care for their 2-year-old daughter, and the requirement that no child would ever be treated with violence or in a manner that was otherwise illegal."

But that's not what happened, the parents say in the complaint: "Between September 2012 and March 2013, on an unknown number of occasions, Calcagno was unlawfully allowed to care for a preschool group that included Jane Roe. During this time, on an unknown number of occasions, Calcagno engaged in the sickening and draconian practice of hogtying Jane Roe for her mere inability to get to sleep during nap time. Specifically, Calcagno, using masking tape that was available as a classroom supply, tightly bound 2-year-old Jane Roe's hands and feet so that she was immobilized. On information and belief, Calcagno then simply ignored 2-year-old Jane Roe as she lay there helpless and immobilized, and only freed her after nap time, which was more than an hour later. On information and belief, Calcagno engaged in this draconian practice because Calcagno viewed naptime as her personal time, and punished and restrained any non-napping child to ensure this. Inexplicably, and on an unknown number of occasions, Calcagno photographed the despondent toddler as she lay there helpless.

"Before the above incidents, Jane Roe was a well-adjusted toddler who slept through the night. However, John and Mary Roe began noticing a change in their daughter's behavior, which included an inability to sleep more than a few hours consecutively before waking up in a panic. Jane Roe also began exhibiting signs of stress that were not normal for her, as she would become inexplicably frightened and inconsolable, and these episodes are increasing. During these panicked episodes, Jane Roe frequently exhibits fear and apprehension of 'the tape,' exclaiming such things to her parents as, 'mommy, no more tape' and similar statements. John and Mary Roe must now obtain psychiatric intervention for their 2-year-old daughter.

"In early March 2013, during a social engagement in which Calcagno saw Mary Roe in a restaurant, Calcagno tormented Mary Roe with a picture of her hogtied daughter, and boasted that she had been the one who did it. Various other members of Mary Roe's social group also witnessed Calcagno showing off a picture of a hogtied, 2-year-old Jane Roe, while bragging that she was the one who tied up the toddler."

The parents add: "Calcagno's acts of hogtying 2-year-old Jane Roe, then leaving her lying there despondent while she sadistically took pictures of the bound toddler, then showing those pictures to Roe's mother while bragging about it, were extreme and outrageous."

The family seeks punitive damages for false imprisonment, battery, negligence, negligent hiring and supervision, fraud, breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

They are represented by Gregory Walston with Walston Cross in San Francisco.

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