ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — An Athens mother says she had to remove her child from a local daycare center after the two-year-old came home with injuries. The mother said she wants to keep her identity a secret, but she wants to share her story because she’s concerned about the well-being of other children.
“I was, I think as any parent would be, especially a mother, I was infuriated,” said the mother.
She said her trust in her child’s daycare was broken. Within the last month, she noticed a bite mark on her two-year-old’s arm and a bruise on the face. When she reached out to her child’s daycare, she was told the injuries were self-inflicted, but the mother said this explanation did not make sense to her.
“I immediately said, ‘I don’t believe that,'” she told News 19. “That’s not how my kid handles being upset. They normally just throw themself on the floor and cry.”
When she reached back out to the daycare, the childcare worker said she had lied about the bite mark. It had actually been cause by another student. The director of the daycare said she would check the security camera footage from the day of the incident.
“The director calls me to tell me, ‘hey, we need you to come back in,'” the mother said. “‘We have more footage that we want you to see.’ And it was the video of my child being struck.”
The video shows the child entering a classroom at Kid’s Journey Child Development Center. The two-year-old is closely followed by childcare worker Tamekia Baker.
In the video, Baker appears to hit the child in the face with a shoe.
“So you really do have to put your faith into that center, and trust that they’re in the best hands you can put them in,” said the mother.
The mother said she believes this might not be a one-time incident at the center, and she wants other parents to be aware.
“Hopefully it hasn’t happened to anyone else, but I find it hard to believe, you know,” the mother said. “You can’t tell me the same day, the same class, two teachers hitting two different children, they’re not comfortable enough to have been doing that.”
News 19 reached out to Kid’s Journey Child Development Center.
A representative of the center said Baker has been terminated. The representative said the center is cooperating with the Limestone County Department of Human Resources and local law enforcement.
An officer with the Athens Police Department confirmed there is a warrant out for Baker’s arrest. The officer said he expects her to turn herself in to officers.