Day care workers get 3-year-olds to fight

2012-08-22 12:04


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Dover — Three US day care workers videotaped a fight between 3-year-old boys and encouraged the toddlers to punch each other as they laughed, according to court documents.

The women were charged on Monday after Dover police obtained a cellphone video of the 6 March incident. Officials suspended the license of their employer, Hands of Our Future day care centre.

Tiana Harris, Estefania Myers and Lisa Parker face charges of felony assault and conspiracy, along with several misdemeanour counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Police allege the video taken by Harris shows one child screaming, crying and holding his face while being punched by the other, who is also punched and shoved into a table.

During the fight, Parker allegedly grabbed one boy and forced him to continue. Harris and Myers are shown and heard laughing, police said.

"They're doing nothing to prevent this from happening," Dover Police Captain Tim Stump said.

Parent shocked

Stump said police are trying to determine whether there were other instances of fighting encouraged by day care employees.

Police have refused to release the video, saying it is evidence in a continuing investigation.

Cristyl Slack, whose 4-year-old daughter is one of seven children who can be seen in the background on the cellphone video, said she was shocked. She said her daughter has told her repeatedly that the teachers don't condone fighting.

"She's specifically said that the day care teachers have told her, if somebody hits her, don't hit them back," Slack said.

It was not immediately clear whether the three women had attorneys. Attempts to reach them were not immediately successful.

Joseph Smack, a spokesperson for the state Division of Family Services, said the day care centre opened in January 2011 and was operating at its capacity of 69 children when it was last inspected on 30 January.

Read more on:    us  |  child abuse

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