A Kentucky day care center will be closely monitored by the state for an indefinite period of time after investigators found that at least two employees made kids line up and get hit with a ruler if they wanted yogurt, calling the “game” “smack for a snack.”
As the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports, the “smack for a snack” issue is the most egregious of a long list of violations uncovered at the New Creation Child Care Center in Lexington. Other findings include that the day care operated with a shattered front window — staff members said that one child had knocked another child into the window and broke it; that one teacher was in charge of 27 children, 12 more than allowed by state regulations; and that children were seen riding in the day care center’s van not wearing seat belts — some were even standing up.
The most damning finding against the day care center, however, was that two male employees, whose names have not been made public, subjected the children to a brutal “game” in which they had to endure being hit on the hands or legs in order to get a snack. The kids were school-age children participating in the day care center’s summer program.
One 10-year-old explained the “game” to investigators.
“The teacher said if you want a yogurt, you have to stand up to get hit on the hand or the leg. Everyone lined up to get a hit. Some kids were crying about it.”
When investigators visited the girl’s home five days later, she and a 7-year-old boy also living at the home still had bruises and discoloration on their legs.
Another child, a 9-year-old, refused to play the “game,” and the employee still allegedly hit him or her.
“I didn’t even want a snack, but he hit me anyway.”
A 7-year-old child said that where (on their body) they got hit would vary.
“One day we got smacked with a hard stick for a snack. Sometimes it was on the leg and sometimes it was on the hand. Everyone that wanted a snack got hit; it hurt.”
When asked about it by investigators, one of the employees readily admitted to making the kids get hit in exchange for their snacks.
“[The employee] confirmed he hit the children with a ruler and implied that it was just a game. The Detective asked him how many kids were hit and he replied, ‘Definitely twenty plus kids. But, not everybody got hit.'”
The two employees told investigators that they would have assigned places to hit the kids; one would hit them on their hands, the other on their legs.
One of the employees involved in the “smack for a snack” issue was cited by police for second-degree assault. It’s not clear why only one employee was charged with a crime and not the other.
How long the “snack for a smack” “game” went on is not clear, but at least one incident was reported to investigators on August 4, and management of the day care was aware of it. However, when investigators showed up five days later to investigate, the two employees were still working there.
In an email, Beth Fisher, a spokesperson for the Kentucky Office of Inspector General in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health And Family Services, said that the day care center will be subject to “increased monitoring,” but did not specify how that would be carried out or for how long.
[Feature Image by Angela Waye/Shutterstock]