MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Murfreesboro mother is still shocked and irate after her son’s preschool teacher became the focus of a child abuse investigation involving children in the daycare.
The Murfreesboro Police Department and the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) both confirmed to News 2 that they have opened up active investigations into the daycare.
Though neither agency would say more, parents with children involved in the investigation told News 2 it involved a KinderCare Learning Center teacher who works in the 3- and 4-year-old room.
The teacher allegedly held a little boy’s arms while she allowed other students to hit the boy, who reportedly hit other students first.
Alexandra, who has a 3-year-old boy in that classroom, told News 2 she was taking her son to the daycare along Fortress Drive on Jan. 18 when she suddenly got an unsettling alert on her phone from the facility director.
“I was in panic. I instantly called my husband, almost it was like a shock,” Alexandra said. “You don’t think it’s real, you never think something like that would happen where your child’s supposed to be safe.”
News 2 has obtained that alert, which said, in part:
“Hello parents and happy Wednesday.
This message is to inform you that we’ve received a violation for ‘inappropriate discipline’ in our 3-4 year old classroom. An educator held a child’s hand and allowed other children to hit him back after he had hit the other children.”
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Alexandra said she asked her son about this and where he was when it allegedly happened.
“Thinking, like, classroom, gym, and he said he ran to the door because he was scared,” she described. “Instantly, that was such a punch in the stomach that you feel as a parent.”
News 2 asked Alexandra if she thought this really happened.
“I think there’s a very good chance,” she replied. “I know multiple children in the class have identified the same children that my child has said.”
News 2 also asked if Alexandra’s child was hit or if he did any of the hitting.
“As far as I know, no,” the mother answered. “When I had asked the director if my child was involved, what was his role, she said she didn’t know.”
According to Alexandra, after talking to her son and other parents in the class, she believes the teacher held the child’s hand behind his back while the other kids were allowed to strike him.
“Even I said to the director, ‘I don’t think my child’s safe here anymore,’ and she was, like, ‘oh you know he is,’ and I was, like, ‘I don’t anymore,'” she recalled.
Alexandra said she loved her teacher, and now she blames herself for missing signs of potential problems.
According to Murfreesboro Police, the department’s special victim’s unit began an investigation into the child abuse allegation on Jan. 10.
However, Alexandra said parents were not notified of the alleged incident for another eight days.
“I don’t even honestly have words because now to me it feels like they’re hiding something,” the mother told News 2. “How long has this happened? Have they known about it happening before?”
A spokesperson for KinderCare issued a statement, which reads, in part:
“The actions that occurred last week do not reflect our company values nor the standards we hold our teachers to.
Nothing is more important to us than children’s safety and we take all concerns about the quality of our programs and our teachers seriously.”
According to KinderCare, the teacher under investigation no longer works at the facility.
The daycare also told News 2 that all staff are being retrained by the state in positive child guidance. On Friday, Jan. 27, News 2 saw a sign on the door indicating that training started at 5 p.m.