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School leader admits he taped students' mouths shut, but says there's more to the story

WWL-TV New Orleans 4/11/2022 WWL Staff

The leader of Lakeside Christian Academy said that he did tape the mouths of some students at the school for excessive talking in class but he said there is much more to the story.

John Raymond, the headmaster at the school, was arrested last week on three counts of cruelty to juveniles after Slidell Police said he wrapped packing tape around their mouths and it was left on for more than a half an hour.

According to police, Raymond, who is a past contestant on the TV show Survivor and is involved in the politics on the state level with some Republican groups, got upset about reports of the students’ excessive talking, took them to his office, wrapped packing tape around their mouths and sent them back to class. The police said that after another school administrator expressed concern, the tape was removed.

Raymond posted a statement to the Lakeside Christian Academy web site on Sunday, admitting to taping the students’ mouths shut, but explaining the situation from his point of view.

The statement claims that Raymond responded when a 7th grade teacher “distraught and in tears” complained about the repeated disruptive behavior in her class.

Raymond said he spoke to the teacher and led students to the upstairs hallway where he explained that he could either call their parents and they would be suspended or they could have their mouths taped shut to learn how to be quiet during class.

Raymond said all of the children chose the tape option. He stressed that he placed the tape only over their mouths and not around their head and that he asked them if they were in pain and if they could breath, to which he said they all replied affirmatively.

Raymond said that the principal expressed concern over the tape on their mouths and that he and she got the students and gently pulled the tape off after no more than 8-10 minutes.

Raymond said parents of three of the five teenage boys involved have pressed charges.

“These students were given a choice between suspension and the temporary tape,” said the statement. “They were never in any physical pain. Their breathing was never impaired. The tape was never wrapped around their heads.”

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