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Delaware day care workers encouraged toddlers to fight, police say

Day care workers in Philadelphia are accused of staging and recording toddlers fighting. WCAU's Claudia Rivero reports.

Authorities have suspended a Delaware day care's license after three employees there allegedly encouraged a pair of toddlers to fight one another.

Cell phone video taken in March appears to show two three-year-olds fighting the Hands of Our Future Daycare in Dover, Del., while three female workers cheer them on, according to Dover Police.

Several other children were roaming around in the room at the time, Delaware Online reported.

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CBS Philadelphia reported that in the video, police say one child can be heard crying and yelling, "He’s pinching me," while a day care worker responds, "No pinching, only punching."

On Monday, police arrested Tiana Harris, 19, of Dover; Estefania Myers, 21, of Felton; and Lisa Parker, 47, of Dover. All three women face two counts each of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment as well as nine counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count each of conspiracy.

“Clearly one of the children is crying and does not want to continue on, and he is pushed back into the fray by one of the adults,” Dover Police Captain Tim Stump told CBS.

According to Delaware Online, police said Harris and Myers were “shown and heard laughing and encouraging the altercation."

The incident came to light when a Dover police officer saw the video over the weekend during an unrelated investigation and alerted detectives.

The city business license for Hands of Our Future was suspended pending a hearing, police said.

“It’s shocking, disturbing and infuriating to watch this video that shows the two children whaling on each other,” Stump told Delaware Online. “These are our most precious cargo and to have adults responsible for caring for their well-being to have them behave as such is sickening.”

Stump added that it is unclear whether other children were involved.

Parent Cristyl Slack, who said she has known Myers since childhood, told CBS her 4-year-old daughter was at the day care on the day of the fight. She said she was angry the allegations were just coming out now, months later.

“I feel if my daughter is around anything, I should have known that day,” Slack said.

 

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