ST. LOUIS – A child advocacy group wants the state of Missouri to reopen an investigation into allegations that two kids were tied up in a classroom.

In early January, Holly, whose last name FOX 2 is not revealing, said her daughter alerted her about something bad happening in the classroom.

“My daughter came out of the school building, worried about her friend that was tied up,” Holly said.

The mom of two couldn’t believe what her 9-year-old daughter had said, so she recorded what happened next.

           Holly: "When she went to the closet to get these out, what did she do with them?"
           Daughter: "She tied [child's name] with these."

“I asked her [daughter] to explain that, and she showed me with her hands, and she showed me with her feet together,” Holly said.

Her daughter, who has autism, said the teacher physically restrained her friend. Holly said it may have been with zip ties, and she alerted other parents.

“I contacted another family that has a child in there and told them to ask their child about what happened,” she said.

Holly’s call of warning got a quick return call about a second student, possibly restrained.

“I realized that was my son that he was talking about—[child’s name]—that had been tied up by this teacher,” Holly said.

Her disbelief turned into a shattered heart for her 10-year-old son, who also has disabilities.

“I should’ve saw the red flags,” Holly said. “I should’ve known what was going on, even though you have to trust the people in care of your children.”

The Children’s Division started an investigation. Records obtained by FOX 2 reveal the state found ‘insufficient evidence’ of the allegations being made. The state reported no witnesses, no restraints were found in the classroom, and there was an unobscured window into the room.

“Due to limited verbal skills and cognitive functioning, [child] was unable to provide a clear picture of his experience in relation to the allegations,” the state investigator wrote in the report.

Missouri KidsFirst Executive Director Jessica Seitz said it’s vital that whenever there’s an allegation of abuse, the state calls in a forensic interviewer, someone who’s specifically trained to interview children with disabilities about allegations of abuse.

Holly and the other mother said a forensic interviewer was never called in.

“Children with disabilities are more likely to be abused, but they are underrepresented in our judicial system, our child protection system,” Seitz said.

FOX 2 asked Seitz and a forensic interviewer to watch the videos of the kids describing what they claimed happened.

“I think the system didn’t respond appropriately,” Seitz said. “Given the nature of this case, I strongly recommend this case be reopened, and the children be referred to a child advocacy center for a forensic interview.”

Holly said she also wants the state to take a second look at society’s most vulnerable.

“There’s no way to know how he felt about that or how it affected him,” she said. “How can we protect them if we can’t take these children’s word?”

Leaders at the school district said it followed policies and the law and cooperated with an outside investigation.

“Based on the specific investigation related to abuse, our district has no evidence that this event took place,” the spokesperson for the district wrote. “The district has consistently followed its policies and procedures with respect to student safety, including conducting background checks and reference checks prior to hiring employees, and will continue to do so.”

FOX 2 received an email on Tuesday, from a woman who appears to be the teacher originally accused, investigated, and then cleared of wrongdoing. Our previous attempts to contact her were not successful. Her email requested a copy of the story. FOX 2 replied by asking if she had a comment, but we haven’t received a reply. A copy of the state’s investigative findings shows the teacher denied the allegations.

The Missouri Department of Social Services could not comment, but issued this statement:

“Information related to specific child abuse and neglect investigations is closed and confidential under Missouri law, except under very limited circumstances (please see §210.150 RSMo). Under Missouri law, the Department of Social Services must contact appropriate law enforcement agencies when it receives a report that merits investigation, and generally, the Department routinely works with those agencies to co-investigate or provide other expertise or assistance.”