In South Carolina, USA, two daycare center instructors have been accused of instigating fights among children and failing to intervene in the violence.
Authorities reported that Serena Caldwell, 56, and Ericka Jones, 27, were found to be instructing the three and four-year-olds in their charge to engage in physical acts such as slapping, pulling, and kicking each other as reported by NDTV.
The altercations involving the children were recorded on camera. Following complaints from other staff members and a review of the security footage, the owner of the daycare stated that both Caldwell and Jones were promptly dismissed from their positions.
Sheriff Lee Foster informed WLTX, a news outlet, that the situation involved 14 children aged three to four.
He described how the two charged individuals would frequently incite disputes by telling one child that another had been given preferential treatment at the center.
These provocations often resulted in confrontations among the children, during which, according to police, Jones and Caldwell “allowed the violence to proceed without correction.”
“It was a situation where they were participating in it by encouraging the kids, and they kind of looked at it as something maybe almost equivalent to a sporting event where they were kind of trying to motivate the kids into participating in that,” Sheriff Lee Foster told the publication.
“I have no idea what the two daycare workers were thinking of – that was just abhorrent behavior. I just can’t imagine why you would do this.”
A local media report included a statement from a parent of one of the children involved, who shared that their child was directed to hit another child and then encouraged to do it a second time.
The police and the parents of the affected children clarified that the fight ring at the daycare was not an organised operation, but rather the actions of two isolated “rogue employees”.
(Published 12 November 2023, 11:19 IST)