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THE INVESTIGATORS: Parent furious after daughter punched by another child at daycare

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 5:07 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Lakreshia Lawrence is furious after she says her 18-month-old daughter was attacked by another child at the Scholarly Education of Precious Tots Daycare in Baker.

“I was not expecting to see what I saw,” said Lawrence.

Surveillance video captured from inside the daycare last month appears to show kids unattended for a least two minutes when another child, who appears to be older, starts slapping and punching the young girl 14 times in the chest. Lawrence was on the way to pick up her child that day when she just so happened to log into the camera system. She says what she saw - in real-time- was horrifying.

“I panicked because no adult was coming. I didn’t see anybody coming to her rescue,” Lawrence said.

In the video, you can see Lawrence race into the daycare, grab her daughter and tell the other child not to touch her again. Once outside, Lawrence questions the daycare worker about what happened and that’s when the worker runs back inside, slams the door, and starts cursing in front of several kids.

The worker can be heard telling the parent she was only gone for two minutes but during that time, and even before the boy punched the little girl, the video shows him lashing out at another child.

“Two minutes is enough time for my child to have been killed. You don’t know if he was in there with scissors stabbing her. You don’t know if he was bashing her head in so two minutes definitely was enough time for her to actually hurt her,” said Lawrence.

The mother said she’s had other issues with the daycare and has tried to work with the staff, but after this, she was forced to report the facility and what’s going on there to the state.

“I’m assuming everything is still under investigation with them as well,” said Lawrence.

The 9News Investigators reached out to the owner of the daycare who says the employee has been disciplined and that Lawrence was given a two-week refund. The owner says the other child’s parents were given a warning. The owner released the following statement to WAFB.

While we do acknowledge that an incident did occur, the footage which is being depicted only contains a partial reflection of the truth. Once this incident, was brought to the owner’s attention, an apology was issued to the Lawrence family. Thereafter, the child returned to our daycare on the very same date and the mother expressed that all was forgiven and that she knew that we would not intentionally harm her child. Also of note, this incident was reported to DCFS, however, they found no valid reason to conduct any additional investigations.

On the date of this incident, we acknowledge that tempers were high. My staff member reacted in order to protect the other children, as the parent of the young girl proceeded to run into the facility and threaten the young boy. In an effort to resolve this incident, the Lawrence family was issued a two (2) week refund. The young boy’s parents were notified and given a warning along with a possible suspension.

No one wants to feel threatened or uneasy whenever small children are involved, and we acknowledge that this situation could have been handled differently on both sides. Our center does not tolerate bullying or violence of any kind.

To our loyal parents, we appreciate you and apologize for any embarrassment this may cause you. This was not our intention for things to escalate as far as it has. We have been working diligently to find great staff amongst this covid outbreak and we are working extremely hard to educate your children as well as protect them. Our loyal parents have seen what we do and have been with us for years. We truly appreciate your continued business and support.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Lawrence if she had any regrets for how she handled the situation.

“No, I’m proud of myself. I really am because I could have done a lot of things. I had a lot of thoughts on my way there. I had time to pray. That’s about the only thing that stopped me from doing what I probably would have done out of emotion,” said Lawrence.

While Lawrence says her child will never go back to the daycare, her concern is for the other kids who are still enrolled. She believes if something like this can happen to her child, it could happen to anyone.

“I think other parents have the right to know what took place in that daycare because it could have very well been someone else’s child,” said Lawrence.

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