Teacher Forgets Student in Time-Out Before Going Home

Young boy in the corner
Image via Flickr Ken Wilcox


A Washington Elementary school kindergarten teacher put her student, Tanner Cagle, in a “tutor room” during school for removing a link from the Christmas countdown chain and then forgot the little boy was in there.

The teacher then left for the day.

“The door was closed, the lights were off and he was sitting on the floor,” said James Cagle, whose son Tanner was left behind. “He had urinated in his pants, he was cold and was crying – he was scared.”

Idaho’s Caldwell School District says it's taking the situation very seriously and investigating the situation. Meanwhile, some parents say they have seen the teacher in the classroom since the incident happened.

I am the mother of a kindergartner myself and if this were to happen, I would be livid. I understand that people make mistakes and it’s easy to get distracted at the end of the day and forget things, like turning off the lights or erasing the chalkboards but not actual children.

I also understand that teachers do employ time outs for bad behavior and they seem to work. Students hate to be singled out and separated from the class because of bad behavior. Normally, these time outs (at our school anyway) take place in the hallway. Kids are never sent to broom closets or under stairwells or even out of the way tutor rooms. I suspect this has something to do with out of sight out of mind and someone could forget about the child.

What really concerns me is why wasn’t this noticed at the end of the day at dismissal? Shouldn’t someone be keeping track of the kids, who we leave in the care of the teachers, to make sure they are actually being sent home to their parents?  Isn’t that part of the implied responsibility of being a kindergarten teacher?

I trust my children’s teachers with my most precious things in my life, my children. That trust would be severely violated if my child were to be lost, misplaced or forgotten about. People make mistakes. I get that but, at the very least, she owes the child and his parents an apology and I think some childcare and sensitivity classes may be in order.

I can’t imagine how terrified this poor little kid was. At that age, my girls obey their teachers without question. I’m pretty sure if they were told to stand in a corner and the teacher forgot about them, they would not say a peep because they are too afraid to speak back to a teacher. All I can think about is that tiny kindergartner huddled in a cold, dark room feeling like no one cares about him and no one is coming to save him.


What would you do if your kindergartener didn’t come home from school, only to find out that a teacher in a hurry forgot she’d banished him to a room by himself and then went on about her merry way, never thinking twice?

What do you think?

Teacher Forgets Student in Time-Out Before Going Home

Deborah Cruz, @TruthfulMommy, is the creator of The TRUTH about Motherhood, an often humorous and brutally honest look at motherhood. She's a writer, a wife, and a work-at-home Mommy who's trying to do it all well. She live in the Midwest with her 2 little girls and her husband. She has a lot of degrees from a bunch of schools but mostly spends her days shuttling people under the age of 7, while trying to maintain her sanity and she wouldn't have it any other way. She talks a lot. She ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. This exact situation happened to my 8yr old son. The principal brought him home after being sent to an empty dark, unsupervised room for over 1-1/2 hours. I am seeking legal advice. Can someone please advise, Thanks.

  2. Mareta says:

    I would be livid! I would ask that other parents sign a petition to have that teacher be terminated! The show of indifference towards one child indicates that she really doesn’t care about her students in general. I would not want that teacher to remain at my child’s school. In comparison, if a bus driver leaves a child on a bus they are immediately fired! If a parent went out and left their child in a corner as she did, would that parent be subjected to criminal prosecution?

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I would be livid if I had my say her teaching license would be pulled I wouldn’t want my child under her care anymore.

  4. ana says:

    I would’ve probably over reacted and tore them a new one verbally while holding my composure . Afterwards would of followed up with the schools superintendent and maybe even consulted with an attorney this is child neglect and aside of this being done to my child and the teacher sees she is getting away with it she may do this again with another one.

  5. toni moore says:

    im sorry but, I have to be ignorant and say this I would call the police bring them to the school… demand they find my child, find camera’s or something telling me where my child was… but if this were to ever happen I might get myself arrested I would freak out like an ignorant person on steroids… screaming cussing and rampaging…. I would be livid to the fact the my kid was in his piss, in a dark room by himself because his teacher who I trusted with not only my child but his life… what if they didn’t find him till the next day or worse…. what would he of eaten? or drank? he would have been trapped, until someone finally went into that room and seen him their…

  6. Megan says:

    This actually happened to me in the 2nd grade!!!

  7. Sugar says:

    Last school year was my son’s first year. Before he started school, I had never just dropped him off somewhere. He went to preschool for a while and I always walked him all the way in to drop him off and walked all the way in to pick him up. With that said, dropping my son off for Kindergarten was a very new experience for me and required an immense amount of trust in the school faculty and staff from both me and my son. So, when on the 3rd day of school I waited for an hour for my son to come out, I got a bit worried. I finally got someone to stop and talk to me and they called around on their radios. No one knew where my baby was. Needless to say, I was upset. I wasn’t irate nor did I become visibly upset. I really kept my cool, because I didn’t allow all of the possibilities to enter into my mind. I did, however, ask them how they could misplace my child. I was told by someone (who I later discovered was a parent volunteer…yes, a PARENT) that there are 1600 kids (it’s an elementary and middle school) to keep up with, so it’s difficult to account for every last one. That statement made me angry. My one son is just as important as the 1599 other kids and those 1599 individual other kids are just as important as my one. It’s a school – they should know exactly where all 1600 are at all times. Period. I had words with the principal and she has hated me ever since. Like I said, I was not irate or unreasonable and I can assure you that another mother wouldn’t be as calm and nice about it, yet I remained socially exiled and punished the rest of the year. It’s insane that even a principal (who has a child at the same school) could not understand how terrifying it is to learn that these people who you’ve reluctantly entrusted with your only child lost him. They maintain he wasn’t “lost”, but he was. That’s what it is when no one knows where he is.

    Needless to say, if my son was locked away in a room and forgotten, I would fight and fight until that teacher lost her license.

  8. Nina says:

    This was very sad to read. I feel so bad for that poor little boy. I started crying when I saw he peed on himself and was cold, and just left there all alone in a dark room. His teacher is an idiot and I hope she loses her job!!

  9. sandra says:

    my son is 6yrs. old and he just gradguated from kinder last week, I will be soo pist off if that had happen to my son i remember when i was in kinder out time out was sit outside bye the door or put ur head down in ur desk but never send to an empty classroom without supervised, but when we got a little older sometimes the teacher will send us to the next classroom with older students and sit down doin our finish work and when it was time to go home or lunch or reecess she will send for us

  10. Courtney says:

    Well the teacher should be under investigation for this….but most teachers do not leave until after dismissal of all students and work at least an hour after the school day, so why did the parents or daycare workers not notice he didntget get off the bus, or if the parents pick him up why did they not notice he wasn’t in the pick up line? Needless to say once I did notice I would have been livid at the teacher. A five to ten minute timeout max for a kindergartner.

  11. Sarai says:

    This story makes me cry! I would be livid as well and would have employed Fox23, Channel 2 News, and every other action to get the word out about this teacher and this school for letting the teacher continue in their teaching career.

  12. jasmine says:

    Dam that mess up yo, i went to a behavior skool but it wasn’t nun like that it was hand on tho, that mess up that rite there is child abuse, they can’t tell u can’t go to the bathroom tho that wrong u not no animal pee on the floor, what my family would sue the shxt out of them.

  13. jasmine says:

    I can said kids are bad ass shxt now in days tho u can’t lie on that note, but forget bout them is unexpectable tho, especially the bad one cause u be to worried bout what they get into, they always said the smart kids stay out of trouble but be the first to get kill or hurt, but the bad one keep doing shxt nd never get caught on a everyday basicly, but as far as the teacher go they would have to worried bout her cause i was sue the shxt out of the whole school, #1 yall knew he was in there the whole time when yall did yall round, nd plus it more then one kids u know kids don’t miss anything even it they don’t like the person, kids don’t miss nun u may think they don’t know they know at lot i then seen it all, they smart as shxt now in days.

  14. dana says:

    I would have acted a damn fool they would’ve threw me in jail that’s why the damn classes have corners you don’t remove the child from class unless their going to the principle’s office

  15. Haley says:

    She may have went to school for learning, but obviously not with children. I’m 17, I’ve babysat, and I’ve never ONCE forgotten about the need of one of the children I was looking after. Not to be rude, but the first thing that came to mind is ‘Screw this lady, Replace her, and take her teaching away.”

  16. Sindy says:

    OMG!!!! hell will be coming her way……

  17. Derrell says:

    Put her in a jail hole and forget her for week

  18. mommy nhoj says:

    When I read this, I feel like hugging the boy so tight even if he’s not my son. The responsibility of the teacher never ends when the bell rings! I hope the school did something about this.

  19. Chanise says:

    I have forgotten my 5 year old daughter was on time out, UNTIL THE 5 MINUTE TIMER GOES OFF! No way! I would raise hell everyday at that school until she was fired OR they moved another adult in her class to make sure shes on her p’s and q’s. But I couldnt leave my child in that class a DAY LONGER. Id switch teachers immediately if not sooner. Things like this make me want to homeschool. I would die if I knew my little princess was in a dark room all alone. Breaks my heart!

  20. Samantha says:

    She should have been fired right away! This makes me sick that people like her are able to even work with children! Yet another reason I am choosing to home school my children until I feel like they can take care of themselves and know when they are being neglected by an “adult”

  21. Charley says:

    What really makes me mad is that she wasn’t just forgetful at the end of the day, if she forgot about that child enough to leave then she probably had forgot about him most the day and didn’t bother checking on him at all. Most likely that child felt neglected long before the school day ended and terrified thereafter. I would pull my child out that school cause children should always be supervised whether in time out or not and a seperate room is completely inappropriate and should be illegal. Time out should be limited to a hallway or back of the class! You may think I’m wrong, but I’d demand that be let go! And the crime was petty, nothing like rough housing, biting, hitting, or sass mouthing to the teacher… Or even sneaking into the arts and crafts closet lol. To be a teacher it should be more than a job to it should be about the love for children and their future. You shouldn’t be a teacher if your that petty or forgetful cause children make mistakes it’s part of learning and growing.

  22. Cait says:

    This actually happened at our daughters learning center to our daughter twice!! Needless to say we are no longer there. My daughter was about 4 when it happened. She was outside on the playground and she followed a parent in the door without them knowing and headed to the potty. When her father arrived to pick her up they told him someone already had. We only have one other person on the list so we knew no one had they went back into the building and found her crying in the bathroom. The second time I called to say I was running a little late and would be there in ten minutes. When I got there they were walking to there cars and again tried to tell me someone else picked her up. I knew that it couldn’t be true because I had just called. We went in and found her sitting in the classroom by the bathroom saying she didn’t feel good! They were lucky it was me the second time and not her dad! I kept my cool but we left shortly after.

  23. Emily says:

    I would have to be escorted if school property that’s for sure.

  24. Stanley says:

    I can say kids truely do remember such events. I was in special education schools when I was a kid. I remember the “time out” rooms they used when I was 10. It was a room maybe the size of a walk in closet 5X10 maybe and had a door that locked. I am now 33 and still remember it well. Had carpet on the floor and walls. Big heavy steel door with no door handle inside. There was a square window toward the top of the door for teachers to look in, but it was covered in plexi glass and then a layer of metal mesh. The room smelled horrible of urine. Teachers didn’t let you out to pee. You had 3 options. You either held it, pulled down your pants and went on the floor or you went in your pants. Sadly, most kids couldn’t hold it. The typical time in the room, 25 minutes was the average. But there was a few times I was locked in there up to 2 hours. My mom never believed me that they had such a room. So nothing was ever done about it. There are actually quite a few video’s on youtube that parents have added after finding such rooms being used at their children’s schools. The one in use at the school when I was 10 was hidden by the gym. You would never see it if you were just walking to pick up your child for example. But all the kids KNEW where it was and were as afraid of it as I was. Anyway, kind of going for a bit of a rant here. But my point was, the little boy in the article above WILL remember what happened. Just wanted to share that.

    • jasmine says:

      Dam that mess up yo, i went to a behavior skool but it wasn’t nun like that it was hand on tho, that mess up that rite there is child abuse, they can’t tell u can’t go to the bathroom tho that wrong u not no animal pee on the floor, what my family would sue the shxt out of them.

    • Camille says:

      my had that too. i will never forgot how they man handled and touched me as a child and left bruises on me. then i got in trouble for “hitting a teacher” and was sent to juvinile court as a warning. from then on, when they touched me, i was so afraid of going to jail, that i wouldn’t fight back.

      • Armant says:

        I don’t remember my elementary school having that kind of room but a substitute teacher did grab my arm in a bruising grip and yanked me around so hard that I fell when I spun around and hit my hand on a desk. She said I hit the table because I tried to hit her and missed. After a lecture from the principal, I was sent back to class. We went to lunch right after that and I made sure to eat strawberries because I knew I was allergic to them. When I got back to class, she got in my face to yell at me for not getting in my seat fast enough and I threw up on her face and all down her shirt.


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