Two mothers are suing a Delaware day care after learning that their two 3-year-olds were encouraged to participate in a preschool fight club, initiated by three of the caregivers employed by the facility.
The day care workers, Tiana Harris, 19, Estefania Meyes, 21, and Lisa Parker, 47, were arrested late August after filming with a cell phone the two 3-year-olds getting coerced by the women into fighting each other.
Police have charged the women with second degree assault, endangering the welfare of a child and conspiracy. The facility, The Hands of Our Future in Dover, Delaware, was temporarily closed following the incident, but reopened last month under probation, according to state records.
Tamika Chandler and Makeisha Gray are the two mothers suing the day care and allege that this incident was not the first. The personal injury complaint Chandler and Gray filed on Nov. 9 states that the facility owners knew about the “ongoing and recurring” fights and did not attempt to stop them.
“Plaintiffs Kylil and Nashon, three (3) years old at the time of the abuse, were forced to physically pummel each other on several occasions,” the criminal complaint reads.
The video, which has not been publicly released, shows the toddlers crying and when one attempted to seek refuge with one of the caregivers, she “physically restrained the fleeing child, and forced him to continue the fight,” according to the complaint.
At another point in the video, one toddler screamed, “He’s pinching me.” A response from one of the caretakers is heard: “No pinching, only punching.”
The suit filed Nov. 9 by the mothers also adds false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress to the charges. Chandler and Gray also accusing the owners of the facility of negligence and breach of contract.