7-year-old girl undergoing counseling; doing well, mom says

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

The investigation about the substitute teacher who allegedly taped the mouth of a 7-year-old girl continues as the mother of the child speaks out in hopes that the incident doesn't happen again.

"Don't let anybody do this to them and ask for help," said Maria Cantu, the mother of the victim. "We learn from one another and the child should tell their parents, so this doesn't happen."

Cantu said she was notified by the principal of Salazar Elementary School about 2:15 p.m. Sept. 13 when the alleged incident occurred.

Cantu said the substitute teacher taped her daughter's mouth and the school took immediate action as soon as they found out. Police reports said the substitute teacher used scotch tape on the girl's mouth.

"I told the principal that I have nothing against the school," she said.

Police Chief Danny Bueno said Thursday the investigator is working on the case and could be presenting the evidence to the district attorney's office soon. No arrests or charges have been filed.

Cantu said she felt compelled to speak out so other parents could be made aware of the situation and educate their children about telling an adult when another adult hurts them.

She said her daughter complained about the tape scorching her mouth the day of the incident.

"She (her daughter) complained of burning and an uncomfortable feeling around her lips," Cantu said. "She said she had (the tape) over her mouth for a long time. And the (substitute teacher) told her not to take it off because she would get into more trouble."

Cantu said her daughter was hesitant to go back to school the next day. She said her child is skeptical about other substitute teachers, but seems to be settling back to her school routine.

"She didn't want to go, she thought (the substitute teacher) was going to be there," Cantu said.

The 7-year-old girl is currently undergoing counseling at Salazar Elementary School, Cantu said.

"She is doing fine and being friendly and funny," her mother said. "I just tell her that through her other kids will also learn."