Louisiana Republican arrested for covering kids' mouths in packing tape lays blame on 'disruptive' students
Rev. John Raymond (Slidell Police).

Last week, a Louisiana Republican Party official and pastor named John Raymond was arrested for allegedly taping kids mouths shut at a Christian school he runs in Slidell.

On Monday, USA TODAY reported that he is now speaking out to defend his actions — and claiming he only did it to protect one of his teachers from being bullied by the class. He also disputed the characterization of earlier reports that the packing tape had been wrapped all the way around the students' heads.

"Raymond, who is an elected member of the Louisiana Republican Party governing board, said a teacher approached him in tears threatening to quit because a group of students was continually disrupting her class by talking," reported Greg Hillburn. "'We have a zero-tolerance bully policy at Lakeside,' Raymond said in his statement. 'This means students cannot bully each other or bully the teachers. We are serious about protecting both our students and our teachers.'"

"Raymond said he gave five children a choice of having their mouths closed with Scotch brand packing tape or school suspensions. He said all five volunteered to have their mouths taped shut," continued the report. "He said the tape didn't impede their breathing and wasn't wrapped all the way around their heads as was reported last week."

Raymond, who also competed on the reality show "Survivor", currently faces three charges of cruelty to juveniles.

The incident comes as Republicans around the country have sought to pass bills restricting how teachers can run their classrooms — particularly discussion of race or LGBTQ issues — for the stated reason of safeguarding parental rights.

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