Although the incident happened in 2016, a Missouri mother filed a lawsuit against a St. Louis daycare center this year, stemming from an ordeal in which teachers reportedly set up children to fight each other inside a classroom.
FOX St. Louis reports that Nicole Merseal found out about the “daycare fight club” after her 10-year-old son recorded preschool-aged children punching and tackling each other while a teacher looked on, jumping up and down while the fight took place. Another teacher watched the fight and even put toy “Hulk” gloves on one the children before he started fighting. The incident occurred at the Adventure Learning Center on Gravois Ave.
The 10-year-old, concerned that his younger brother would get injured, caught the incident on video and showed his mother. The video showed a little boy being knocked to the ground and hit repeatedly by another boy. The 10-year-old spotted his little brother in the corner of the classroom, crying after he, too, had gotten punched and knocked around by another classmate.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services launched an investigation shortly after the incident. According to The Kansas City Star, former daycare teacher Mickala Guliford confirmed verbally that she and and another former employee, Tena Dailey, allowed the kids to fight.
“He doesn’t understand why his friends were fighting him, why he was beaten up by his best friends,” Merseal said.
According to police, both teachers in the video were fired. Yet, Merseal is seeking at least $25,000 in damages for the physical and emotional suffering her son endured. She also wants to ensure that no other child experiences what her son went through, after the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office declined to press charges.
“I want them to be held accountable and I don’t want this to happen to any other child.”
“In the video, he’s wiping his face over and over again,” Merseal continued, explaining her son’s experience. “The daycare worker – you see her walk over to him and tell him, you know, ‘you’re fine,’ and you know, pat him on the back and then walk and start another fight with other kids.”
Although the daycare is still in operation, court documents indicate that it has received several other violations in the past, including a teacher who allegedly cussed, grabbed, flicked, and pushed a 4-year-old down.
In another incident, one of the daycare teachers reportedly grabbed a 3-year-old by the arm and dragged the child. DHSS documents indicate the director was in the room at the time and didn’t respond.
“It took a long time for him to be comfortable in his new day care and to understand that they won’t make him fight,” Merseal told ABC. “It’s really sad that he had to go through this.”
[Feature Photo: Screenshot via Nicole Merseal]