The day care staff told Caitlin Sims that her 3-year-old had been in a “marker fight.” But that didn’t explain the irritation on his neck.
As CBS 4 Denver reports, the mom from Parker, Colorado went to pick her son up from Merryhill School on May 22 and got a strange explanation for his red, irritated skin that eventually developed a scab. Sims told CBS 4:
“The two teachers came up to me and said, ‘Your son and another boy got in a marker fight.’ And immediately my son said, ‘Mommy my throat hurts.’ The teacher said ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I must have been scrubbing you too hard when I cleaned you.”
Sims wasn’t the only mom perplexed by the marks on her child’s skin. Joel Dant told CBS 4 that their 3-year-old came home with red markings around his eyes. He said:
“You can still see them under his eyes right now, there’s like pink marks. But the actual bruising and scabs was almost two weeks.”
A trip to the pediatrician revealed that the irritation on their son’s face wasn’t just from vigorous scrubbing. The doctor explained that they were actually chemical burns.
Stacey Dant told CBS 4 that she was stunned to learn that the day care staff had resorted to using household cleaner on the preschoolers’ skin:
“The actual element used was a Magic Eraser which those have numerous chemicals in it. Similar to fine grit sand paper and she’s using it on children’s faces. I mean, anyone knows better than that.”
Trying to get the school’s help in getting to the bottom of the incident was its own challenge. The parents got different stories from the staff. What’s more, requests to get the other parents’ contact information were denied.Screenshot/CBS 4 Denver
Even seeing the surveillance video of the incident took days. And when they did finally view it, they learned that the use of chemicals on the children’s skin wasn’t the only objectionable behavior. Josh told CBS 4 that the video showed a staff member treating his son roughly:
“Grabbed him by his neck, pushing her thumb into his neck, ripped him over backwards pulling him to the point his knees buckled. It was the toughest thing my wife and I have ever seen.”
But if the parents thought the school would help them pursue the issue, they were disappointed. Josh said the day care wouldn’t give them a copy of the video for them to take to authorities.
Eventually Child Protective Services began an investigation, but the parents had to make the police report themselves, more than a month after the incident. Meanwhile, they have filed a lawsuit against the school.
In a statement to CBS 4, a spokesperson for Noble Learning Communities, the parent company of Merryhill School, explained that they are cooperating with authorities and have fired the teacher responsible.
She added, “As soon as we were made aware of this incident, we reported it to state licensing officials, placed the teacher on leave, and began an internal investigation which resulted in the teacher being terminated from our employment.”
Josh told CBS 4 that he’s concerned about how long it took for authorities to get involved and wonders whether other children might have been harmed at the school:
“How many other incidents have happened? None of the other parents that go to that school, other than the ones we were able to speak with, understand what happened, and that concerns me.”
He added: “Parents need to know the truth, this is what happened to our child and this is how it was not properly handled.”