A New Jersey preschool administrator is accused of pulling a knife on two 4-year-old children, a crime that could send her to prison for up to 18 months, the Courier News is reporting.
Adetokunbo O. Akinnaso, 64, was until recently the administrator of Dawn to Dusk Christian Childcare and Learning Center in Plainfield. She has since been removed from her post, following the outcome of an investigation into her actions that allegedly took place earlier this year.
As of this writing, it is not clear when the alleged crime took place, beyond that it was in the early months of 2018. What is known is that the New Jersey Department of Children and Families Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit invoked the help of the Special Victims Unit to conduct an investigation into Akinnaso after receiving a tip that she may have abused children in her care.
The investigation concluded that two 4-year-old students who had been misbehaving were brought into her office for discipline. What all happened during that meeting is unclear, but authorities determined that Akinnaso produced a knife, and “threatened to harm” the children if they continued misbehaving.
Neither child was injured.
This week, Akinnaso surrendered herself to authorities. She faces two counts of cruelty or neglect of children, a fourth-degree offense, according to acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan. If convicted on both counts, she faces up to 18 months in prison.
A person who answered the phone at the day care center where Akinnaso formerly worked said “No comment” when asked about Akinnaso and the allegations against her.
Meanwhile, Plainfield Interim Superintendent of Schools Ronald Bolandi said in a statement that Akinnaso has been removed from her position in order to protect the safety of the students in the district.
“The safety and well-being of our pre-K students is most important to our district.”
Pre-schools in the district are privately-owned. However, the public school district does provide resources for some parents in order to access early childhood care, which gives the school district at least some oversight. Moving forward, Bolandi promises that to “be in communication” with the families of the victims, as well as the families of any other children who attend, or attended, the day care center where Akinnaso had worked.