A Missouri mother has filed a lawsuit after video emerged of teachers at her daycare allegedly operating what authorities call a “daycare fight club,” CBS News is reporting.
It’s been two years since the video was filmed, but Nicole Merseal says that she still has nightmares about the 2016 incident. At the time, her then ten-year-old son and her then four-year-old son were attending Adventure Learning Center in St. Louis.
As local Fox affiliate KTVI-TV reports, it was a cold December afternoon and the school’s heater had broken. For reasons that remain unclear, the lead teacher at the time — whose name has not been revealed — apparently decided that the best way to entertain the kids, and the staff, was to stage fights wherein small children repeatedly conked each other in the face and head.
For at least 30 minutes, according to footage from various security cameras in the building, children as young as four were paired with other kids and encouraged to “fight” each other. One kid donned Incredible Hulk prop gloves before striking his opponent. Teachers jump into the air in excitement. And worst of all, no one — except for one person — tried to do anything to stop it.
The one person who tried to put a stop to it was Merseal’s four-year-old son.
We couldn’t make this up if we tried.— Ethical Society of Police (@ESOP_STL) October 30, 2018
Teachers thought this was a good idea.
Graphic content for some:
“ST. LOUIS - Teachers at Adventure Learning Center on Gravois organized a one-day fight club for preschoolers in December 2016.“ https://t.co/7u6X9W6NbG
Of course, he was too young and too small to be able to do much to help.
That’s when Merseal’s ten-year-old son, who was in another room, decided to film the fighting. He took about 10 minutes of footage before texting it to his mother. She was, of course, outraged beyond words. She immediately called the school and told them to put a stop to it.
According to a follow-up police report, the two teachers involved in the incident have been fired — but no criminal charges were ever filed. And while Missouri’s child welfare authorities stepped up their inspections of the facility — including inspections that turned up other unspecified violations — the day care remains open.
For Merseal, that’s not good enough.
“I want them to be held accountable and I don’t want this to happen to any other child.”
She says that she still has nightmares about the video, and that the incident has had a lasting effect on her younger son, too. She says that when she spoke to him about a new daycare, the first question that he asked was if he was going to be made to fight again.
She’s suing the day care center for $25,000.
“If I’m not a voice for my children, who will be?”
Meanwhile, employees at the daycare are refusing to talk to the media.