03/12/2013 01:31 pm ET

Pleasanton, California, Preschool Teacher Allegedly Tied Up Toddler Who Refused To Nap

A former Pleasanton, Calif., preschool teacher is under investigation after allegedly tying up a toddler who refused to participate in nap time.

According to the California Department of Social Services complaint, a former employee at Centerpointe Christian Preschool allegedly bound a 2-year-old girl's wrists and ankles with masking tape and took a photo of the tied-up toddler, the Bay Area News Group reports.

The incident was not uncovered until months later, on March 4, when the former teacher -- who has not been identified -- retold the story and showed the photograph to colleagues, including the mother of the child, during a luncheon for current and past employees. According to NBC Bay Area, the woman had left her position at the preschool "earlier this year."

Pleasanton Patch reports that leaders of the Centerpointe Presbyterian Church, which oversees the preschool, lodged a complaint against the ex-employee with the Community Care Licensing Department on March 5, after learning of the inappropriate punishment.

"We are appalled and shocked that such an incident, if proven to be true, took place. Every human person made in the image of God, all of the children in our care, deserve the highest degree of respect and protection from any action that dehumanizes them,” Pastor Mike Barris said in a statement.

While the Pleasanton Police Department completes its criminal investigation into the alleged incident, the preschool will suspend services for five days beginning March 15 so staff may undergo extensive training.

In the past, several other teachers have come under fire for carrying out similar punishments on students; these incidents often result in the employee's termination. One of the most widely publicized incidents occurred last month, when an 8-year-old girl with Down syndrome came home from school with her shoes duct-taped tightly to her feet.