February 27, 2019
A daycare in Missouri called is making national headlines after a horrifying incident was revealed on surveillance video. The footage, which was recorded on February 1, shows an employee of Brighter Day Care and Preschool in St. Louis take a 3-year-old girl by the arm, drag the child across the room, and throw her into a cabinet. The little girl, whose head was split open by the assault, was taken to the hospital where she received seven stitches and released to her parents, FOX 2 News reports.
The daycare worker reportedly explained the incident to the parents in a note that read "she fall." Five days later, the child's family, who has asked to remain anonymous, viewed the surveillance video. As it turned out, that was the first time the director of the daycare had seen it, as well.
“In no world did this family have any idea that what was called a fall was actually an assault until they came to see that video,” the family's attorney Jennifer Hansen said. “One of the more egregious aspects of this case is that the daycare director told the family that she did not watch the surveillance tape until the family was with her. The daycare could've reviewed that footage at any time. They didn't and they allowed the day care worker who assaulted this little girl, to continue to work at the facility for five additional days."
After the video was viewed, the daycare did fire the employee, and in the aftermath, police are investigating the incident along with state child care inspectors.
The local FOX affiliate reported that this was far from the first disturbing event to occur at the daycare. State inspectors reported the following past cases: In May 2018, inspectors noted a second teacher "slam a child down on the cot" and a third teacher "holding a child by his wrist, dragging him across the room." In June 2016, inspectors said, "staff did not have a preventative plan in place" when "(one child was) repeatedly hitting and choking another child." And in March 2016, inspectors wrote that a "child fell out of the chair and sustained a left femoral fracture."
The daycare director Sharon Williams told reporters she couldn't comment given the current investigation, however her attorney released the following statement: "All teachers and staff are properly trained and extremely qualified. Providing a quality education in a safe environment is of the utmost importance to our teachers and staff. It has always been our policy to notify the proper authorities and to fully comply with any investigation. We have and will continue to follow said policy."
Abuse occurring in St. Louis-area daycares is an unnervingly pervasive issue. FOX 2 News has been reporting on it for over two years, noting in November 2018, "This is an issue we’ve investigated for more than six years now at Fox 2. After reviewing hundreds of these reports, we’ve learned problems can happen in any facility. That means it’s important to not only consider the conclusions reached by these investigators but also to consider how the centers responded."
They encourage parents to "talk to childcare directors directly. It’s been our experience that some childcare directors are open about talking about problems they’ve faced while others can become hostile. The way you communicate with a director can offer you a clue about what it will be like to navigate future stresses that are likely to occur in any child care setting."