The teacher accused of Sellotaping over the mouths of a class of ten-year-olds to keep them quiet says it was a ‘game’ that the youngsters suggested and enjoyed.
Priscilla Davo is said to be ‘devastated’ by the furore following the incident.
She has been suspended from teaching Spanish and art while Danesfield Church of England middle school in Williton, Somerset, investigates parents’ complaints that their children had struggled to breathe and hurt their lips when removing the tape.
The 27-year-old Spanish-born teacher has not spoken publicly about the incident, but boyfriend Ivan Martin Linan said the claim that she taped the children’s mouths shut against their wishes ‘couldn’t be further from the truth’.
‘She told me she was trying to relax the children with music before asking them to draw themselves and to do so he told them they couldn’t speak,’ he said.
‘She said the idea of the Sellotape was one the children came up with as a way of reminding them they couldn’t speak, that they were laughing and enjoying themselves.’
She is said to have left the lesson in good spirits thinking the class had gone well, and been surprised and appalled when parents contacted the school to complain.
Parents claimed that some of the children ripped the tape off because they were struggling to breathe, while other were left with bleeding lips when the tape was removed, and several said they were scared about returning to school.
The incident is now the subject of a ‘thorough’ investigation by the school.
Speaking from his home in Spain, Miss Davo’s boyfriend Ivan Martin Linan, told the Mail: ‘She’s absolutely devastated at what’s happened.
‘She breaks down in tears whenever she speaks about it. She can’t believe what’s happened.
‘The accusation that she taped the children’s mouths shut against their wishes and hurt them couldn’t be further from the truth.
‘It was just a game during an art class.’
‘You’d understand it if she had done something wrong and made a mistake.
‘But the case is that she hasn’t. It’s total madness.
‘It was just a game. She’s taking advice from a teachers’ association about her future at the moment.
‘She doesn’t want to return to Spain just now in case that’s misinterpreted.
‘But at the same time she’s fretting about how she can face some of the children after everything that’s been said about her.’
Miss Ortega, who is said to speak excellent English, worked as a nanny in London from November 2010 to June 2011 before returning to her native country to complete a Master’s in secondary education.
Having completed a month-long placement at Danesfield primary in 2012, she began working at the school full-time in January.