Principal accused of locking 5-year-old student in closet with spiders and roaches

The principal of a charter school in Louisiana is wanted by police after they say he locked a 5-year-old girl inside a “nasty and gross” school closet crawling with spiders and roaches.

Shafeeq Sayid Shamsid-Deen, 31, has been suspended from Laurel Oaks Charter School in Baton Rouge and is expected to be arrested on charges of cruelty to a juvenile — a felony — and false imprisonment for locking the young student in the closet on Aug. 22, according to an arrest warrant issued Monday obtained by WBRZ.

Three teachers found the little girl after hearing her screams and tracking her to the cafeteria broom closet — where she was locked in from the outside, the station reported.

The child told police that Shamsid-Deen had earlier told her to “go into the closet with the spiders,” and warned that he would turn the lights off if she screamed. She said she was trapped inside the foul-smelling closet for an unspecified amount of time as “spiders and roaches” crawled on her, according to The Advocate.

The girl said Shamsid-Deen ordered her to go inside the closet “when she is bad,” the warrant reads. But it was unclear if she had ever been locked in the closet before.

The incident occurred on just the 12th day of the new school year and one of the teachers reported that the girl was “weeping hysterically” when she was found. Equipment like paint and other supplies were inside the closet, which also contained a small chair.

Shamsid-Deen told one of the teachers who complained about the punishment that the charter school will “work to make sure we have a proper time-out area for scholars to reset in the cafeteria,” according to the warrant.

Police told the Advocate that Shamsid-Deen had been in touch with the department via his attorney, but he had not surrendered to authorities as of late Wednesday. Calls seeking comment from Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola were not immediately returned Thursday.

School officials, meanwhile, confirmed in a statement that Shamsid-Deen was suspended.

“Laurel Oaks Charter School is committed to the safety and well being of all students,” the statement reads. “Any action that would constitute a crime or result in neglect of a child has never been the policy at Laurel Oaks Charter School and is currently not the policy.”

School officials, under state law, are required to fire Shasmid-Deen if he’s convicted or pleads no contest to the charges he faces, according to The Advocate.